US declares war on Iraq's farmers

Gerrard Winstanley evnuk at
Sun Oct 24 22:12:47 BST 2004

To my global list. In addition to the imposition of US patent laws, 
is the imposition of Bremer's Laws, which is encouraging the 
wholesale asset-stripping of the Iraqi economic infrastructure.

        And then some wonder why Iraqis are angry, and are resisting 
American plutocracy and imperialism.

        But, then, the corporations who are benefiting, are likely 
the same ones who are funding the parties that form government and 
make the rules which oppress people the world over.

        The most important political issue we must change, is how the 
political process is funded.
David J. Weston <dweston at>.

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GM WATCH daily
"The US has been imposing patents on life around the world through 
trade deals. In this case, they invaded the country first, then 
imposed their patents. This is both immoral and unacceptable" - 
Shalini Bhutani
World Food Day: Iraqi farmers aren't celebrating
GRAIN, 15 October 2004

NEWS RELEASE For immediate release

When the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) celebrates 
biodiversity on World Food Day on October 16, Iraqi farmers will be 
mourning its loss.

A new report [1] by GRAIN and Focus on the Global South has found that 
new legislation in Iraq has been carefully put in place by the US that
prevents farmers from saving their seeds and effectively hands over 
the seed market to transnational corporations. This is a disastrous 
turn of events for Iraqi farmers, biodiversity and the country's food 
security. While political sovereignty remains an illusion, food 
sovereignty for the Iraqi people has been made near impossible by 
these new regulations.

"The US has been imposing patents on life around the world through 
trade deals. In this case, they invaded the country first, then 
imposed their patents. This is both immoral and unacceptable", said 
Shalini Bhutani, one of the report's authors.

The new law in question [2] heralds the entry into Iraqi law of 
patents on life forms - this first one affecting plants and seeds. 
This law fits in neatly into the US vision of Iraqi agriculture in the 
future - that of an industrial agricultural system dependent on large 
corporations providing inputs and seeds.

In 2002, FAO estimated that 97 percent of Iraqi farmers used saved 
seed from their own stocks from last year's harvest or purchased from 
local markets.

When the new law - on plant variety protection (PVP) - is put into 
effect, seed saving will be illegal and the market will only offer 
proprietary "PVP-protected" planting material "invented" by 
transnational agribusiness corporations. The new law totally ignores 
all the contributions Iraqi farmers have made to development of 
important crops like wheat, barley, date and pulses. Its consequences 
are the loss of farmers' freedoms and a grave threat to food 
sovereignty in Iraq. In this way, the US has declared a new
war against the Iraqi farmer.

"If the FAO is celebrating 'Biodiversity for Food Security' this year, 
it needs to demonstrate some real commitment", says Henk Hobbelink of 
GRAIN, pointing out that the FAO has recently been cosying up with 
industry and offering support for genetic engineering [3]. "Most 
importantly, the FAO must recognise that biodiversity-rich farming and 
industry-led agriculture are worlds apart, and that industrial 
agriculture is one of the leading causes of the catastrophic decline 
in agricultural biodiversity that we have witnessed in recent decades. 
The FAO cannot hope to embrace biodiversity while holding industry's 
hand", he added.


>From GRAIN Shalini Bhutani in India [Tel: +91 11 243 15 168 (work) or 
+91 98 104 33 076 (cell)] or Alexis Vaughan in United Kingdom [Tel: 
+44 79 74 39 34 87 (mobile)]

>From Focus on the Global South Herbert Docena in Philippines [Tel:+63 
2 972 382 3804]

NOTES [1] Visit
GRAIN and Focus' report is entitled "Iraq's new patent law: a 
declaration of war against farmers". Against the grain is a series of 
short opinion pieces on recent trends and developments in the issues 
that GRAIN works on. This one has been produced collaboratively with 
Focus on the Global South.

[2] Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated
Circuits and Plant Variety Law of 2004, CPA Order No. 81, 26 April 

[3] GRAIN, "FAO declares war on farmers, not hunger", New from Grain, 
16 June 2004,

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