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 Iraq Order 81

Order 81: http://www.INEAS.org/events.htm

Historically, the Iraqi constitution prohibited ownership of biological resources. Farmers in Iraq have operated in a mostly free-to-little-regulated, informal seed supply system. Farm-saved seeds and the free exchange of planting materials among farmers have long been the basis of agricultural practice in Iraq. Yet all of this has become history.

On April 26, 2004, Paul Bremer, the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), issued and signed Order 81, which prohibits farmers from reusing seeds harvested from new varieties registered under the law.

When ownership of a crop is claimed, seed saving will be banned and farmers will have to be pay royalties to the registered, so-called seed owner. A "Greedy, unjust law is meant to be

The Order arises from USAID program in Iraq, which confirms that foreign aid programs are mainly "commercial opportunity" programs designed to benefit companies in the USA and Europe. It fits perfectly into the US vision for the future of Iraqi agriculture following a system dependent on large corporations selling chemical inputs and seeds. The purpose of Order 81 is to facilitate the establishment of a new seed market in Iraq, one in which Iraqi farmers are forced to make their annual purchase of seeds, including those that are genetically modified, from transnational corporations.

The law awarded US Corporations complete control over farmers' seed for 20 years. Iraqi farmers had to sign an agreement to pay a "technology fee" plus an annual license fee. Plant Variety Protection (PVP) made seed reusing and saving illegal as well as "similar" seed plantings
punishable by severe fines and imprisonment. Agribusiness wants the same rights everywhere, including in the USA. This will jeopardize the future of organic and independent farming.

Many developing countries in Africa and Asia particularly in Afghanistan, India and Iraq have been suffering from these unjust laws and the monopoly by the agricultural giants.

Therefore organizations, activists, organic food advocates, farm owners and farmers around the world are joining hand to advocate for patent-free seeds and biodiversity and to educate about the criminal practices by agricultural corporations and how their unjust laws have and will affect the future of agriculture.

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