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Ep22: Channa Prakash on GMs, Golden Rice, and the Green Revolution

Episode summary

In the third episode on power in the food system, we speak with Channa Prakash, professor of crop genetics, biotechnology and genomics at Tuskegee University in the United States. Channa has been actively involved in enhancing the societal awareness of food biotechnology issues around the world. We speak with Channa about who decides what ends up on our table, discuss how his personal story connects to the Green Revolution, and unpack how he sees ideology as getting in the way of science. We also learn how Channa approaches food systems debates as we discuss Golden Rice, the Green Revolution, and different efforts to promote Organic farming across South Asia.

[ Transcript available ]

About Channa Prakash

Dr. Channapatna S. Prakash is Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of plant genetics, biotechnology and genomics at Tuskegee University (USA) where he has been on faculty since 1989. His lab was among the first to develop transgenic sweet potato and peanut plants and conduct pioneering genomic studies on the peanut.

He oversees the genetic improvement research on food crops of importance to developing countries and has trained dozens of scientists and students. He has also been actively involved in enhancing the societal awareness of food biotechnology issues around the world. He has funded projects on peanut genomic research from USAID/Zambia; serves in the USAID Agricultural Innovation Partnership project to enhance agricultural innovation in India in partnership with Cornell University; and partners with UCLA in an innovative distance learning program on genetics through interactive live video including lecturing in an online course. Dr. Prakash also serves as Editor-in-chief of the journal GM Crops.

Follow Channa on Twitter: @AgBioWorld

Background resources on contested food systems topics

Green revolution

Article: Lessons From the Aftermaths of Green Revolution on Food System and Health (John and Babu, 2021)

Article: Health Impacts of the Green Revolution: Evidence from 600,000 births across the Developing World (Goltz et al., 2020)

News article: Churchill’s policies to blame for 1943 Bengal famine (Kuchay, 2019)

TABLE letterbox: Cultivating genetically modified organisms in Ethiopia (Bikele and Sida, 2021)

Golden Rice

Article: WTF Happened to Golden Rice? (Philpott, 2016)

Golden Rice Project: Golden Rice and Intellectual Property

An Anti-GM campaign: The Golden Rice Hoax

Farmer Lawsuits around GM

Article: Dissecting claims about Monsanto suing farmers for accidentally planting patented seeds (Katiraee, 2018)

Film: Percy Schmeiser - David versus Monsanto (2009)

Report: Monsanto vs US Farmers (Center for Food Safety, 2005)

Andhra Pradhesh and Sri Lanka

News article: In Sri Lanka, Organic Farming Went Catastrophically Wrong (Nordhaus and Shah, 2022)

Collection of reports: Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming (2016-2021)

Report: Engineering transformation through zero budget natural farming (FAO, 2018)


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Introducing season two: Power in the food system


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