It's Wednesday, November 18th,
CBC Television is still basking in the ratings success of Battle of the Blades.
Currently, CBC executives are looking for new ways to capitalize on the show and promise that from now on, they won't just be standing on the National.
This is The Current.
To its supporters, Golden Rice is a nutritional godsend. It's genetically engineered with high levels of nutrients, including -- most notably -- Vitamin A. Every year, up to half-a-million children go blind because of a lack of Vitamin A. Half of them die within a year of losing their sight.
The people who developed Golden Rice thought they had an inexpensive and effective way to cut those numbers significantly. But that was ten years ago. Today, Golden Rice still isn't being produced or distributed. And for Ingo Portrykus -- one of the two scientists who created Golden Rice -- that's inexcusable.
Ten years ago, a bio-technology company called Syngenta bought the patents for Golden Rice. But the company has since given them away to a not-for-profit group. Judy Shaw is the Government and Public Affairs Director with Syngenta, Canada. She was in Ottawa. Vandana Shiva is the Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology. She was in New Delhi.
We started this segment with a clip of Jacques Diouf, the head of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. He was speaking at the World Summit on Food Security in Rome.
The Summit wrapped up today without securing the 44-Billion-dollars in new agricultural development money that the U.N. was seeking. So this morning, we wanted to look (or listen) at one particular aspect of global malnutrition ... and two ideas for dealing with it. As we mentioned in our previous segment, up to half-a-million children go blind from a lack of Vitamin A every year. Half of them die within a year of losing their sight.
Earlier in the program, we heard about the controversy around Golden Rice ... rice genetically engineered to produce Vitamin A. But Canadian aid and research is helping bring a bio-fortified vegetable to a part of Africa where drought has led to starvation.
Freelance journalist Paul Webster has just returned from Uganda where a new variety of Vitamin A-enriched sweet potato has been introduced. But with climate change and strong cultural traditions to contend with, it's facing an uphill battle in the fight against hunger. We aired his documentary, Vitamin, Eh?
We started this segment with a commercial for Heinz Ketchup.
The next time you reach for a bottle of Heinz ketchup, ask yourself why it tastes so good. Then ask yourself why so many people always buy that brand. Malcolm Gladwell gives us his answers to those two questions in a wonderful essay called The Ketchup Conundrum. It's one of twenty essays in his new book, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures. They cover a wide variety of topics from the history of hair colour to why some people fail. And they include profiles of food gadget inventors, hedge fund managers and the inventor of the Pill. The thread that runs through them all is the idea that - what on the surface may seem mundane or trivial - can have deeper and significant roots. Malcolm Gladwell was in New York City.
Last Word - Hair Colour
Among other things, Malcolm Gladwell talked about his fascination with the roots of hair colour campaigns. So we ended the program with a look back at the way they used to sell hair colour to anyone with even the slightest inclination... starting with a 1979 commercial from L'Oreal featuring Meredith Baxter Birney, before she became famous for being Michael Keaton's mother on Family Ties.