Farmers' leaders want India to reject drafts, come out of WTO

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New Delhi, Jun 11 (UNI) Ahead of a WTO Ministerial meet in July, the farmers from across the country came out with a resolution that India should reject the drafts on Agriculture and Non-agricultural Market Access (NAMA), which they claimed will increase food insecurity, and incur economic losses.

Around 30 farmers' leaders, from all over the country held a day-long marathon meeting and came out with a resolution that ''India should come out of WTO and should not sacrifice the livelihood of 800 million farmers, advasis, dalits and rural women.'' The July Ministerial meet is expected to pave way for an early completion of the contentious Doha Development Round. The two drafts are the revised version of the July 2007 agriculture and NAMA text, and thay was surfaced again on May 19, 2008.

According to FICCI, a NAMA tariff reduction proposed for developed countries in the draft is calculated to be at 30 per cent while that of India by more than 60 per cent.

''India should not dilute its position at the WTO negotiations as the 'special products' (SP) and Special Safeguard Measures (SSM) offered to us, are only a smokescreen and offers no real protection to Indian agriculture, fisheries and forestry,'' the resolution underlined.

Mr Vijay Jawandia from Shetkari Sanghtana, Maharashtra said, ''Any compromise by the Indian government will jeopardise the future of farmers.'' Mr Malla Reddy, President of Andhra Pradesh Raitu Sangha said, ''The import of edible oils at low duties has destroyed millions of oilseed farmers in AP'' and Mr Basavaraj Ingin from Karnatka said, ''The removal of quantitative restrictions by India, has already played havoc in agriculture and these should be restored.'' Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, President, Bharatiya Kisan Union(Ekta), Punjab said, ''The food basket of the country will become a begging bowl of India if it signs inequitable agreement on agriculture.'' Mr Yudhvir Singh of BKU also echoed same sentiments and Mr N D Koli from National Fishworkers' Forum said he had highly subsidised import of fish from Japan and Korea, and had already reduced the livelihood option for Indian fishermen.

The meeting organised by Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security and UNCTAD-India on ''WTO Negotiations: Protecting Livelihoods and Ensuring Food Secuirty'' was presided over by eminent food analyist Devinder Sharma and was attended by several representatives of civil society orgnisations, academia and food experts.

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