Govt stance at WTO belies assurance on food security, says farmers’ group

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 03, 2014 Published on August 03, 2014

The Left-backed All India Kisan Sabha said the Modi Government's stance on food security, procurement, public stock holding and PDS is ambiguous. K K Mustafah

While some farmers organisations have welcomed the Narendra Modi Government’s stance in World Trade Organisation, some others feel that the Government’s actions do not match its words with regard to its stance on food security and farm subsidies at home.

“We totally support the Government’s stand on WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. In fact, in a country like ours, agriculture should be totally kept out of the purview of WTO norms in future. This is because for lakhs of small and marginal farmers in India, agriculture is not merely a business, it is an integral part of their culture and means of subsistence,” Yudhvir Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, said.

However, Left-backed All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) said the Modi Government had not taken an unambiguous stance on the issue of food security, procurement, public stock holding and the public distribution system (PDS) with regard to the negotiations at the WTO.

“Contrary to the public posturing, the BJP-led NDA Government has threatened to stop procurement if States pay higher than the minimum support price (MSP) for foodgrains, especially wheat and paddy,” AIKS said in a statement.

Instead of increasing the crop basket under purview of the price support mechanism and enhancing the procurement network, the Agriculture Ministry and the Commission of Agricultural Costs and Prices have been pushing for pruning the list of crops from the existing list, it added.

“Agricultural subsidies are being frozen and public food-stockholding is being progressively reduced, both of which will endanger food security of the country and push farmers out of agriculture, intensify the agrarian distress and farmers’ suicides that too at a time when other sectors are not able to provide employment for the displaced,” the statement said.

Alleging that the Government was “clandestinely’ following the agenda of developed countries, AIKS said if the Government was committed to the cause of farmers and food security, public stockholding and price support, it must increase farm subsidies as well as announce remunerative MSP, increase procurement as well as expand the crop basket under price support.

AIKS urged upon the Government to forge solidarity with Developing and Least Developed Countries to collectively secure safeguards for sovereign development policy space, food security and the livelihood concerns of farmers and its people.

Published on August 03, 2014
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