GOLDEN RICE has received a biosafety permit for the planting of the genetically modified grain seeds for commercial production, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said.  

The permit, which attests that the Vitamin A-infused rice has passed the biosafety standards of five departments including the Department of Agriculture, was issued on July 21. 

PhilRice Executive Director John C. De Leon was quoted as saying in the statement that the permit allows Golden Rice seeds to be “planted for commercial production.”  

However, this will still be subject to the terms and conditions of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry, he said. 

Mr. De Leon added that Golden Rice still needs to be registered under the National Seed Industry Council, which clears the registration of seed varieties based on consistent and good field performance. They will also have to complete other requirements such as increasing seed production. 

Golden Rice is part of the “Healthier Rice Project” of the PhilRice and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Mr. De Leon said the variety was developed to curb vitamin A deficiency. 

IRRI Director for Research Ajay Kohli said the modified grain underwent rigorous research and regulatory review, noting it is as “safe as ordinary rice” which contains beta-carotene, a source of Vitamin A. 

PhilRice in November said it expects Golden Rice to begin commercial propagation by 2023 depending on the progress of its application. — A.Y. Yang