Monday, January 03, 2005

Iraq: ADM's Next Conquest??

Forgive me if I manage to see a conspiracy of industrial agriculture everywhere I look...

http://www.2theadvocate.com/stories/121704/mil_wheat001.shtml
(Update, 1/4/05: Oddly, The Advocate has removed the electronic archive of this story, so the link is dead. If you'd like to read where I found it, go to Chrenkoff's blog and read the his "Good News from Iraq, Part 18". I could make a career out of pointing out the contradictions in his writing...)

The US military is now providing free wheat seed to Iraqi farmers--434 tons of it so far. Sounds like a public relations victory on the surface... but then listen to this comment from Army public affairs:

"Iraq's wheat seed has been degraded tremendously because the farmers harvest their grain and then use the same wheat to replant," Acree said

Ahh! The catch: it's F1 hybrid seed that they're giving away--does not produce a fertile product. In other words, they can't replant it and grow more wheat next year. So... now they're dependent on more free wheat seed next year. How long will it be before they have to pay Archer Daniels Midland market price for their newfound habit? This is just one more example of the commodification of sustainable peasant agriculture, and the tendency of hierarchy to continually intensify by creating dependency.

And when the pollen blows in the wind and cross-polinates with other local Iraqi farmers, will the seed-patent holder sue for ownership? That's what is already happening in the US...

5 comments:

doug said...

"And when the pollen blows in the wind and cross-polinates with other local Iraqi farmers, will the seed-patent holder sue for ownership?"

Lots of luck to the patent holder when he shows up in an Iraqi court to press his lawsuit!

Fabiana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fabiana said...

"...creating dependency."

That has always been the goal... But I think the U.S. will never achieve it; it will be forced to leave Iraq before that. And, as you naturally know, it wouldn't be the first time that a Westerner invader was expelled from Mesopotamia.

The Bush administration could have learned the lesson the easy way (by studying history). Since it's chosen not to do it, it will end up learning it the hard way - and it's unfortunate that Americans and Iraqis have to pay for it.

My prediction is that Iraq will be independent soon, but it won't have peace for a very long time.

P.S.: This is a second attempt to post this comment.If the first post appears later, I'll try to delete one of the two.

Jeff Vail said...

Fabiana, you said that the Bush administration could have prevented their mistakes by studying history. How true. It strikes me that the standard mark of hubris in any generation--certainly to include our own--is the tendency to think that one's own times are somehow unique, that the cycles and mechanics of history will not be repeated under their watch...

Anonymous said...

Bush has repeatedly said that part of what he wants to do in Iraq is create a "Free Trade Zone of the Middle East", something akin to NAFTA or the FTAA.

This is big capitalism in action.

--Maximus