International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Scientists

YOU ARE: The IRRI is an organisation that does research in plant breeding and development of new rice varieties for farmers in Asia. Products of IRRI development are freely distributed to farmers and local plant breeders. You will argue that distributing golden rice will benefit malnourished children.

You will urge the WHO to listen to your advice and take the RICE!!

You will defend a nongovernmental organisation involved with developing golden rice.
IRRI believes all of the following claims: That golden rice is just the first of many biotechnologies that will assist IRRI’s clients, who are the poorest people of the world. That IRRI exists to deliver agricultural products, free of charge, to developing country farmers.3 That golden rice will help IRRI meet its objectives. IRRI’s mission statement reads as follows:

"IRRI is a nonprofit agricultural research and training centre established to improve the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes. It is dedicated to helping farmers in developing countries produce more food on limited land using less water, less labor, and fewer chemical inputs, without harming the environment".

In January 2001, IRRI received its first research samples of golden rice. The sample came from the co-inventor, the German scientist, Dr. Ingo Potrykus. IRRI, aware of criticisms of the technology, believes nonetheless that Dr. Potrykus responds well to the criticisms in an interview with Michael Fumento of American Outlook magazine.


The WHO will soon convene a hearing (the WHO “Panel of Arbitrators”) to determine whether to they should be in favour of or opposed to the development and distribution of golden rice. They have invited four different groups to advise them on this matter.
The four groups are as follows: (1) Friends of the Earth; (2) Philippine Partnership for Development Farmer-Research Scientists (MASIPAG); (3) People from Developing Nations; and (4) the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

YOU WILL ....argue that the technology should be pursued because you think that golden rice is an answer to the people and will prevent starvation and death throughout the world. The first two groups see golden rice as a hindrance and will argue against its development.

Use the task sheet below to structure your arguments:

After you have done your research and structured your main ideas you will need to present your findings as a presentation to the rest of the groups. Your AIM will be to convince them that your ideas makes the most sense and will be best for everyone concerned.