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  • Sunday, November 28, 2004


    Corporate Control of Food

    The ever increasing control of biotech firms over commercial food crops is something I've been following for a while. A synchronism occurred when these two stories crossed my eyes within a few hours. From A Moral Civil War:
    Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF) brings news that one American innovation in Iraq involves "a system of monopoly rights over seed." The FPIF discussion paper appeals to international rights of "food sovereignty" -- the right of a nation, "to define their own food and agriculture policies, to protect and regulate domestic agricultural production and trade, to decide the way food should be produced, and to determine what should be grown locally and what should be imported."
    From Imperium Watch:

    Iraqi farmers will now be forced to pay American seed companies for seeds for each year's crops. American agribusiness has joined Halliburton and other Western infrastructure development companies in reaping profits from the Iraq war, which was sold to patriotic Americans as part of the war on terrorism. Last April Paul Bremer, then American administrator of the Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority, altered Iraq's intellectual property law so the farmers, whose tradition of collecting seed each season for use the next is thousands of years old, will now have to buy licenses to use patented seeds that cannot be planted in more than one season. If a farmer does not plant the patented seeds, but is found with patented seed in his field because of wind drift or pollination, he can be fined by the company who owns the patent. Critics say the rule may make it convenient for many Iraqi farmers to sell out to American agribusiness companies, who gave President George Bush $4 million and Republican congresspeople $11 million in the recent election cycle.

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