Farmers’ organisations have expressed their “frustration and concern’’ on the way agricultural negotiations have been moving at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a communication to WTO DG Roberto Azevedo.

“While domestic subsidies that the Western countriesgive to their farm sector, which is dominated by agri-business and not small farmers such as in India, are going unchallenged, there are attempts to cut agricultural tariffs even for developing countries,” representatives from the Indian Farmers’ Group, an alliance of major farmer groups across the country pointed out in their letter to the DG.

Azevedo is currently in India holding talks with the industry, members of think-tanks and the government on the on-going negotiations at the WTO and the expectations from the Ministerial Meet in Buenos Aires in December.

Comparing subsidies given by members, the alliance group said that against a domestic support of $57,901 per farmer by the US and $8,286 per farmer by the EU, Indian farmers received a support of merely $99.

“To add to the affront, the small amount of subsidy that our farmers receive through the administered price, for supporting our public food programme, is now being questioned at the WTO,” the letter stated.

The ‘peace clause’ that is granted on the food security proposal is not effective and it is not a guarantee against disputes, it said. “We are standing on very precarious grounds here our basic survival as farmers is being challenged, which also threatens the country’s food security and our people’s right to food. We need movement on a permanent solution on the food security proposal,” the letter added.

With the WTO not delivering on agriculture issues under its development mandate till now, the country has to be given enough reasons to continue supporting the multilateral forum, the alliance demanded

The letter is endorsed by farmer groups including the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, Kerala Coconut Farmers Association and South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements.