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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Off Topic: Iraqi Heritage Seed Link for Seanp

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  • Sean Phelan
    OK, Folks. I ve read through some other literature, and here s my take on the Iraqi seed situation: 1) It is not illegal for an Iraqi farmer to save his own
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 23, 2004
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      OK, Folks.

      I've read through some other literature, and here's my take on the Iraqi
      seed situation:

      1) It is not illegal for an Iraqi farmer to save his own seed. It is only
      illegal for him to save patented seeds that s/he bought.

      So, by itself, the law is not much different than the law in the US or
      Canada.

      HOWEVER ... Iraq is different than the US, in a few ways

      2) The country has been ravaged by 2 years of war. How much farmer-saved
      seed is left? It's easy to picture grainhouses being burned down or looted,
      and there could be a massive heirloom loss, although I have no data on this.
      If so, the farmer may have no choice but to buy seed to get started again.
      And, of course, this seed will be patented. No more seed-saving

      3) Genetic Drift could be worse than in the US, partly because Iraqis have
      no experience sequestering their crop from cross-pollination, or at least
      less experience. There may be some research breeders there who know the
      routine, but the idea of "defensive" sequestering will be brand new, and
      they may learn the lessons too late. And, of course, once the patented seed
      infects your saved line, the patent holder can come and hold you
      accountable, i.e. take your land.

      4) There's no "certified organic" program in Iraq, which means there is no
      business-protection law in place to put a value on the damage caused by GMO
      drift. In the US, organic farms are often suing over that damage, and as
      legit businesses, they have a claim. In Iraq, that does not exist, since it
      never needed to. This means less repercussions against patent holders for
      GMO drift.

      5) Some patented varieties are directly derived from varieties around the
      world, maybe some of which come from the middle east. With slight breeding
      or gene alteration, the same crop that came from Iraq might be patented and
      re-introduced. That would make farmer-saved seed and patented seed VERY
      CLOSE - perhaps too close to tell apart. This will work in favor of the
      patent holder, since they hold more clout and will have better
      representation.

      -----

      So, in short, they can still save their own seed, but the practice will
      probably be extinct within 5-10 years.

      At some point, when the entire food supply is controlled by a few megacorps,
      how long before the world revolts?

      It's not so hard to picture, apparently India already has in some way...
      They're not enforcing US patents in India, so other companies are knocking
      off the US-introduced GMO crops. When I heard that, I cheered. Not for the
      increase in GMO availability, but for the decrease in profit motive to
      introduce new ones.

      Any country would need no more than to pull out of the trade agreements, and
      all the patents would be null/void for them. It would not be enough cause
      for military intervention, so that would be the end of it.

      Sp

      -------------------------------------------
      Sean Phelan
      Sequoia Consulting - Internet solutions that make sense
      http://www.sqcn.com
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