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AIKS demands PM Modi to protect farmers' interest at WTO ministerial conference at Geneva
New Delhi, June 9 - The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) on Thursday asked Prime Minister to pay heed to the farmers' voices and protect their interests at the World Trade Organization (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference slated to open at Geneva on June 12.
The Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is scheduled to take place in Geneva from the June 12 to 15.
"The Conference is being held in a context when the farmers of our country who were reeling under an acute agrarian crisis have also been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are at a crucial juncture wherein incessant increase in costs of fertiliser, fuel and other inputs have led to a spike in costs of production for farmers on the one hand and unremunerative prices for their produce on the other is pushing them into a debt trap," the AIKS said in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Stating that it is extremely difficult to meet the food security needs of millions of Indians if the farmers do not get prices commensurate to increase in the costs of production, the letter said: "In times of a global food crisis as well as increased prices of food, this could have serious portents for food security in our country. This has to condition our response at the WTO Ministerial."
AIKS has consistently been cautioning from 1991 onwards that the trade liberalisation policies, removal of farm and food subsidies, scrapping of import duties as well as quantitative restrictions will push the poor Indian farmers into an unequal competition with highly subsidised large capitalist farmers of the developed countries, the letter said and added, "The Free Trade Agreements and price crash for Indian farmers due to dumping of cheap products from outside resulting in suicides by farmers in distress is our bitter experience."
"We stick to our position that the entire gamut of neoliberal economic policies needs to be reversed and India should keep out agriculture from the WTO as well as unequal Free Trade Agreements," the AIKS asserted.
The Ministerial will discuss very important issues related to agriculture and food security. "Legally binding results arising out of the negotiations could be detrimental to millions of Indian farmers and it is the imperative that the India Government listens to farmers voices and articulates their interests at the WTO."
AIKS and other organisations representing the millions of farmers in India have been making the demand for keeping agriculture out of the WTO because unfair and unequal rules have been imposed on developing countries while favouring the rich nations and agribusinesses. Even as the rich nations are continuing with massive subsidies to their farmers and corporations under extra entitlements and the Green Box, subsidies given to Indian sugar, dairy, wheat, rice, pulses etc., have been challenged by them in the WTO.
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