Agri Business

India invokes WTO peace clause for rice farmers

Rajalakshmi Nirmal BL Research Bureau | Updated on April 02, 2020

File photo   -  Debasish Bhaduri

India has invoked the peace clause of the World Trade Organisation. This follows the country exceeding the ceiling of 10 per cent on support it offered to rice farmers in the marketing year 2018-19.

The government through a notification to the Committee of Agriculture, WTO on March 30th informed that the value of its rice production in 2018-19 was $43.673 billion, while its total support through different measures for rice farmers was $5.004 billion. The support for farmers thus comes to 11.46 per cent of the value of production against the allowed limit of 10 per cent.

It needs mention here that the WTO rules put restrictions on support that developing countries including India can offer their farmers as the WTO looks at such support measures as trade distorting. But thanks to India’s constant negotiations, WTO members adopted a decision at the Bali Ministerial Conference in 2013 on public stockholding for food security purposes. This decision allows developing members to invoke the peace clause to protect their public stockholding programmes from legal challenge.

Other developing countries including Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan, which run food security programmes similar to India, may soon follow suit.

Published on April 02, 2020

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