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Abstract

Golden Rice has been genetically engineered to produce beta-carotene in the endosperm of the grain. It could improve the vitamin A status of deficient food consumers, especially women and children in the developing world. This paper analyses the potential impacts in a Philippine context. Since the technology is still at the stage of R&D, benefits are simulated within a scenario approach. The health effects are quantified using the methodology of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Golden Rice will not completely eliminate the problems of vitamin A deficiency, such as blindness or increased mortality rates. So it should be seen as a complement rather than a substitute for alternative interventions. Yet, the technology will reduce related health costs significantly. In monetary terms, annual gains will lie between $23 million and $137 million, depending on the underlying assumptions. A preliminary cost-benefit analysis shows high returns on R&D investments. Micronutrient-enriched crops are an efficient way to reduce deficiency problems among the poor, and related research projects should receive higher political priority.

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