March 20, 2010 | Huma Gupta
I struggle with the privileged status enjoyed by US companies to penetrate the Iraqi markets post-Occupation. Iraqi agriculture has suffered extensively due to the US-backed sanctions in the 1990s, followed by bombing, instability, and continued lack of access to key agricultural products. This has led to the extremely high prices of Iraqi agricultural products, and the subsequent dependence on cheaper agricultural imports, for example, from neighboring Syria. It is also worthy to note that the 1990s era sanctions have STILL NOT BEEN LIFTED! There is talk to lift these soon, however.
Since Iraqi farmers are in a vulnerable state and desperately need access to agricultural products to improve infrastructure and crop yield at lower prices, US companies will play a foundational role in shaping Iraqi agricultural practices. And who will these companies be? Will Monsanto be among them? Will we see GMO-seed + Monsanto pesticides being exported to Iraq and attack Iraq’s natural biodiversity?
Here is an invite sent from Darrell A. Upshaw, Public/Private Sector Advisor for USDA/FAS/OCBD in the Trade and Science Capacity Building Div
We cordially invite you to attend the USDA Agribusiness Trade Mission to the Republic of Iraq.
The USDA will sponsor an Agribusiness Trade Mission to the Republic of Iraq, tentatively scheduled for June 6-10, in Baghdad, Iraq. We have recommended FFAS Under Secretary James Miller lead the Mission to Iraq.
We are looking to attract U.S. businesses who are interested in opening or extending market access opportunities in Iraq. The formal announcement will be available in the upcoming weeks, as we are awaiting confirmation on the USDA principal who will lead the Mission. In the meantime, if you or colleagues are interested in this opportunity, please don’t hesitate to contact me as soon as possible and I will provide additional information.
Mission Goal: The goal of the Iraq Agribusiness Trade Mission is to provide U.S. participants with first-hand market information, access to government decision makers, (more…)