Mexico’s bean pirates – Brief Article
An American seed firm has patented the rights to a strain of yellow bean that has been growing in Mexico for millennia. The US-based corporation, POD-NERS is now suing Mexicans who try to export their beans.
Larry Proctor, director of the seed firm, took the popular yellow-coloured beans from Mexican farmers in 1994. Within two years he had managed to cultivate a ‘uniform and stable population’ of seeds from the beans, which he named ‘Enola’ beans. Proctor was granted the patent rights in 1999.
The Mexican government is furious, and is determined to fight the US patent office for their beans. ‘We will do everything necessary, anything it takes, because the defence of our beans is a matter of national interest’, declared Jose Antonio Mendoza Zazueta, Under-Secretary of Mexican Rural Development.
Mexico may have to spend over $200,000 on the case; a huge amount for an already impoverished government.
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