Sunday, December 05, 2004

For Their Own Good

Guerrilla News has published an article about new Iraq patent law ordered by the Coalition Provisional Authority. The law remains binding until such time as a new Iraqi government repeals it.


For generations, small farmers in Iraq operated in an essentially unregulated, informal seed supply system. Farm-saved seed, agricultural experimentation, and the unrestricted exchange of planting materials among farming communities has long been the basis of Iraq’s cultivation practices. All this is rendered illegal by the new law. The seeds that farmers are now allowed to plant—“protected” crop varieties brought into Iraq by transnational corporations in the name of agricultural reconstruction—will be the property of the corporations.

. . . . .

The new law is presented as being necessary to ensure the supply of good quality seeds in Iraq and to facilitate Iraq’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). What it will actually do is facilitate the penetration of Iraqi agriculture by the likes of Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, and Dow Chemical—the corporate giants that control seed trade across the globe. Eliminating competition from farmers is a prerequisite for these companies to establish operations in Iraq, a condition that the new law has achieved. Taking over the first step in the food chain is the next corporate move.


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