International Seed Day Reminds Us To Choose Patent-Free Seeds

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Photo: CPWF Basin Focal Project

Food activists from around the globe will be celebrating International Seed Day this April 26. The Institute for Near Eastern Studies (INEAS) wants to remind people to celebrate the holiday by enjoying the benefits of patent-free seeds and more importantly, by writing letters to your newspaper to spread the word far and wide. The battle is on against patented seeds and thus far, it's been a pretty bad year for the organic team. The US is leading the pack in a big way with 66.8 million hectares or 165 million acres of GMO crops currently being cultivated. This is a 7 million, yes, 7 million acres increase from just two years ago. It's sad that we've already traveled so far down this road without even knowing the repercussions.

But biotechnology largely leaves people in the dark as to what could happen. Having tasteless tomatoes in December just isn't worth it especially if it means that our entire food system is putting all its eggs in one basket. We're growing genetically modified monocultures that are destroying our soil and literally killing everything in their path.

What's worse is farmers are giving up age old learned methods of farming in order to plant one dangerous crop for miles and miles. Once farmers use Monsanto's Roundup Ready, which is a line of designer genetically-modified seeds, they have to continue to purchase the seeds year after year because it's illegal, yes illegal, for farmers to save seeds. Biodiversity is being left in the dust.

According to INEAS, the day was chosen in honor of a heinous bill signed April 26, 2004 in Iraq to control Iraq's agriculture:

Article 14 of this law states "Farmers shall be prohibited from re-using seeds of protected varieties," The most significant part of Order 81 is the subject of 'Plant Variety Protection' (PVP), which ensures not the protection of biodiversity, but rather the protection of the commercial interests of USA and European major seed corporations.

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