WTO meet: India seeks solution to food security issue

15 Dec 2015


India is pitching for a permanent solution to the issue of food security at the ministerial meeting of member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at Nairobi beginning today.


India will also raise the issue huge trade-distorting farm subsidies of the rich countries and its consequent adverse impact on millions of resource-poor and subsistence farmers in developing countries.

India said rich countries have already distorted trade by the huge subsidies given to the farm sector in their countries - which was a clear mandate of the ongoing Doha Development Round negotiations.

India's commerce minister Nirmala Sitaraman noted that developed countries are trying to bury this, which is closely connected with the 'development' agenda, adding that agricultural subsidy provided by the rich is ''now not even a matter of discussion, leave aside serious negotiations.''

Farm lobbies in the rich world have, for decades, been shaping the discourse and determining the destiny of these poor farmers, Sitharaman pointed out during a meeting of the G33 countries (a coalition of 48 countries demanding flexibility for developing countries in limiting market opening of the agriculture sector).

India wants the multi-lateral body to deliberate on pending issues of the Doha Round and deliverables of the Bali package, including issues of the least developed countries.

India also said "concerted efforts" are needed for a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding of grains for food security programmes and a balanced outcome of the 4-day meeting.

The developed world sees state-held food stocks with poor countries as a threat to their highly subsidised farm products, which they want to offload on developing and poor countries.

Ministers from the WTO's 162 member countries are meeting at the Kenyan capital during 15-18 December for negotiations aimed at a deal to liberalise global trade.

The G-33 countries represent the collective voice of over two-thirds of humanity and an overwhelming majority of poor and subsistence farmers.

Earlier, at a meeting of the G-20 countries, India had demanded removal of the disparity in agricultural trade rules that are biased heavily in favour of developed countries.

Concluding the Doha Round negotiations successfully would go a long way in correcting these distortions in agricultural trade, it said.

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