On July 21, 2021, Golden Rice was registered in the Philippines allowing cultivation and consumption. Research, as an intervention to combat vitamin A deficiency (VAD), started in 1991, and proof of concept for what was to become Golden Rice, was achieved in 1999. In the 1990s, 23–34% deaths globally of children less than 5 years old were caused by VAD, and in developing countries, the percentage was even higher. By 2013, progress against the Millennium Development Goals had reduced <5-y child deaths globally from VAD to about 2% of all such deaths. The progress included significant vaccination programs against measles, and better access to clean water, as well as vitamin A supplementation, all delivered through community health programs. Economic development and education about diet reduced food insecurity. In contrast to continuing VAD deaths, the Covid-19 pandemic has attracted huge political attention, including in low- and middle-income countries. Community health programs have been adversely affected by the pandemic. There is a danger that as a result VAD rates, child and maternal mortality climbs again toward 1990’s levels. Adoption of Golden Rice provides a safe, culturally simple amelioration and is costless. Other countries should seize the opportunity. Bangladesh is first in line, possibly followed by Indonesia and India.
Part of the book: Integrative Advances in Rice Research