For Immediate Release
Friday, April 3, 09
Cambridge, Massachusetts - Organizations, activists,
farmers and organic food advocates around the world have endorsed
and will observe April 26 as International Seeds Day (ISD).
The purpose of the ISD is to educate the public and inform the media
Join us to learn and educate about patent-free seeds
and farmers’ rights, to mobilize a worldwide movement to challenge
the giant agricultural corporations and to revoke Order 81.
For a list of events taken place on April
26 and endorsers, see:
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
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.
Seed saving will be banned when ownership of a crop is claimed. As
a result, farmers will have to be pay royalties to the registered
“Greedy law, unjust law is meant to
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.
The Institute of Near Eastern & African Studies
1 (617) 86-INEAS (864-6327)
INEAS@aol.com or INEAS_1994@yahoo.com
Full text of Order 81: http://www.trade.gov/static/iraq_memo81.pdf
People’s rights to water and food: http://www.navdanya.org/organic/index.htm
GM Science Exposed: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/pdf/Papers_on_GM_Hazards.pdf
The Agenda in Afghanistan & Iraq: http://www.grain.org/briefings/?id=217
International Seeds Day & Order 81: