As though the situation isn’t already bad enough for Iraqis, American business interests have declared war on farmers there with new laws that will prohibit Iraqi farmers from saving their own crop seeds. The laws go further than anywhere else in the world; farmers will be forced to buy or pay fees to use the seed of any variety of plant hybrid that a breeder claims as his own, not just "patented" varieties.
The ramifications are ominous. Currently, 97% of Iraqi farmers grow from seed they have saved from the previous year’s harvest.
"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
order makes it especially hard to work as a farmer in Iraq, and makes a
convenient incentive for Iraqi farmers to sell their farms to American
The spin is in some cases, quite disturbing, portraying the delivery of tons of seed to Iraqui farmers by the American military as an exercise in humanitarianism. The picture it paints instead is of an unequal battle on a new front, one conceived and funded by U.S. corporations from their comfortable offices and carried out by naive soldiers against unsuspecting citizens. Oh wait… isn’t that the whole story of this war? It’s very sad.
U.S. soldiers helped deliver 156 tons of wheat seeds on Oct 19 to a
central distribution point for farmers near Taji, Iraq. This was the
beginning phase of Operation Amber Waves, conducted by the Arkansas
Army National Guard’s 39th Brigade Combat Team, attached to the 1st
Farmers collecting their seeds did indeed seem happy as they waited their turn to load 110-pound bags onto their vehicles.
really appreciate this wonderful gift from U.S. soldiers," said one
excited farmer who went on to note that receiving the seeds during the
time of Ramadan made it especially thoughtful."
Poor, poor buggers. They have no idea that they’ll be paying for this gift for the rest of their lives.
Many Americans are enraged. Protests are arising in the most surprising places, like this one published in The Daily Texan: