seed saving banned?

View the update to this post here.

Here’s a bit of political unpleasantness I read about in a seed description in the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog listing for the Iraqi tomato variety, Rouge D’Irak:

Saving seeds was made illegal under the “Colonial Powers” of the United States. Under the new law, Iraqi farmers must only plant seeds from “protected varieties” from international corporations.

First Hiliburton, then Blackwater, and now monster agribusiness taking advantage of the war. I wish I was surprised.

The Baker Creek online catalog actually lists five different plants of Iraqi origin, in case you’d like to help preserve varieties that Iraqi farmers now can’t legally grow from their own seeds: four tomatoes, Tatar of Mongolistan, Rouge D’Irak, Al-Kuffa, and Nineveh; along with a melon, Baghdad Long. Aren’t you heirloom tomato specialists looking for new varieties to try? How about these plants with an amazing contemporary history?

Doing some quick research on this I ran across a posting over at The Alchemist’s Garden that’s great reading. Take a look!

4 thoughts on “seed saving banned?”

  1. I think it’s all about business. According to the November 15, 2004 issue of The Agribusiness Examiner: “The seeds farmers are now allowed to plant — “protected” crop varieties
    brought into Iraq by transnational corporations in the name of agricultural
    reconstruction — will be the property of the corporations. While
    historically the Iraqi constitution prohibited private ownership of biological resources, the new U.S.-imposed patent law introduces a system of monopoly rights over seeds…The new law is presented as being necessary to ensure the supply of good
    quality seeds in Iraq and to facilitate Iraq’s accession to the WTO. What it
    will actually do is facilitate the penetration of Iraqi agriculture by the
    likes of Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow Chemical — the corporate giants
    that control seed trade across the globe.” Reprinted at the Organic Consumers Association (

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