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U.S. companies, through influence with the Iraqi government, are trying to corner the market for Iraq's food supply.
Agriculture started in the Fertile Crescent and was the key to the development of fixed settlements - the cornerstone of civilization, essential to man's survival as a species. Over thousands of years, farmers have bred and crossbred different food-yielding plants, invented new farming techniques and new ways of increasing the output of the field. The most basic of these techniques include using seeds from this year's crop for next year's planting and trading seeds with other people.
For the first time since the development of written language, it is illegal in Mesopotamia to replant seeds or to trade seeds from crops farmers have grown. Paul Bremer, former American Administrator of the Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority, made a change to Iraq's intellectual property law last April that requires Iraqi farmers to pay a yearly license to North American companies for each year's crops.
Without a renewed license, Iraqi farmers cannot replant each year's seeds, like 97 percent of them currently do. Also, they cannot sell or trade the seeds - because the genetic materials of the crops are patented.
Genetically manipulated food isn't new. Farmers have been throwing away seeds that yield bad crops in favor of seeds that yield good crops for millennia, creating optimum crops through human-guided artificial selection. Even before direct gene modification was possible, genetic engineering was done through splicing and hybridization. What is new is the idea that agribusinesses are able to patent their crops' DNA.
Bremer's 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 interests.
If American agribusiness corporations establish a stranglehold on Iraqi food, Iraqis will essentially live and die at their whim. This decision to place the interests of a powerful American industry above the basic necessities of Iraqis illustrates why so many Iraqis are so desperate to kick the American invaders out of the country and why it is vital for all Iraqis they succeed.
The Daily Texan
Originally posted by curme
The way I understand it is: for thousands of years, Iraqi farmers used their seeds. They mixed seeds up, to produce better seeds. The the US comes and says, "Those seeds you are using, in the USA, they have a patent.
The USA took their law, to make it illegal to do what the Iraqis have been doing for thousands of years.
this was never done before the occupation.
Originally posted by curme
So Nygdan, does this help, or hurt Iraqi farmers?
It seems to only help big business, while hinder Iraqi farmers trying to make a living during the occupation.
It seems that big business is trying to get it's hands on the food source, for profit, as opposed letting Iraqis farm their own food, for morality.