Indian farmers organizations call upon the Government to stand firm on food security issue at the WTO

Original Publication Date: 
23 July, 2014
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In a statement (attached) released ahead of the WTO General Council meeting tomorrow, farmers organization in India called upon the Indian Government to stand firm on linking the Food Security proposal  with the Trade Facilitation Agreement in WTO. Farmers’ leaders expressed shock over the Chair's summary of the G 20 trade ministers meeting which was held on July 19 at Sydney.  The Chair's summary was fully silent over the food security proposal of the Bali Declaration, while it referred specifically to the Trade Facilitation Agreement. Thus “the G20 is increasingly turning to fixing the interest of developed countries by ignoring paramount concerns for people in developing countries and in least developed countries”, the farmers’ groups claimed.

Yudhvir Singh, leader of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), one of the largest farmers organizations in India, said that, "in the backdrop of rising costs and extremely volatile global market prices, and to fulfil the constitutional obligation of food security to its people, and also to ensure the livelihood security of producers, the Government of India needs to sustain and increase domestic agricultural production through price support, procurement and other measures to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, across different food grains. This is all the more important in the context of hundreds of thousands of farmers committing suicides in desperation”.

Kavitha Kuruganti, of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) said, “The Government of India lost a historical opportunity in correcting deep-seated WTO wrongs in the Bali Ministerial. At least now, they need to stand firm on our sovereign policy space related to food and livelihood security, and sustainable development pathways. Indian government at that time settled for a temporary solution with so called 'peace clause'. Lack of progress towards a 'permanent solution' vindicates our apprehensions. At this point of time, the government should not buckle under any international pressure. It should remain firm in its position”. 

Naresh Sirohi of BJP Kisan Morcha added, ”India has currently taken a position to block the ratification of the TFA unless other elements of the Bali Outcome including permanent solution on the food security proposal and the LDC package are advanced. However we are hearing conflicting reports of India being ‘fully committed to the (Bali) package’. This clearly gives an impression that India may agree to the finalization of protocol on trade facilitation without the finalization of Doha Round especially on the issue of food security, which is against the principle of the single undertaking”.

Vijoo Krishnan of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) said that, “we are alarmed over government's recent policy to freeze agricultural subsidies and to reduce public - food stockholding that will endanger food security and push Indian farmers out of agriculture. The government has to reverse it at national level and protect its policy space at WTO to provide production support to its farmers”.

In the context of G20 Chairs summary, Indian farmers statement;

  • Sought clarification from the Government of India whether it has moved away from its earlier stand.

  • Called upon the Government not to buckle down under the pressure from USA, the EU and other developed countries and not to dilute its position of linking trade facilitation with food and livelihood security and by pushing a permanent solution to the G-33 Food Security Proposal.

  • Called upon the Government of India to use current negotiations to correct fundamental WTO wrongs, to build up and lead a coalition /alliance of like-minded countries to collectively secure safeguards for sovereign development policy space, food security and the livelihood concerns of farmers and its people.

  • Urged the government to take a proactive role in building such alliances as India did in building G-20 and G-33.

For more information please contact:

Yudhvir Singh at 098-681-46405

Naresh Sirohi at 098-996-00011

Vijoo Krishnan at 099-689-14006