WTO s Nairobi Package may hit Indian agriculture and food security

Eliminating farm subsidies and ending public stockpiling of foodgrains for food security by 2018 may hit India badly.
WTO s Nairobi Package may hit Indian agriculture and food security

Indian agriculture sector and the country’s food security may face big hit in the future as the trade ministers of 162 WTO member countries have reached a consensus for eliminating subsidies on agriculture exports and ending public stockpiling for food security by 2018.

Experts believe, if the resolution adopted in the WTO Ministerial Meeting, held at Nairobi on December, 19, 2015 comes into force, India may need to eliminate subsidies given for fertilisers, diesel, energy and farm machinery by 2018.

Though, in the case of surge of food imports, the resolution has a provision of Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) for the developing countries, but experts question that why we are going to allow such a situation when food imports can surge?

Experts opine, as per the another resolution, if public stockpiling of foodgrains is given up by 2018, the implementation of National Food Security Act 2013 will be impossible. Further, providing subsidised food to the economically weaker section of the society will be a challenge.

In particular, four ministerial decisions were adopted in the WTO meeting, addressing the following: export competitiveness through the elimination of many export subsidies by all countries by 2018; allowing developing countries to continue, for the time being, public stockpiling for food security; the Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) for developing countries to make recourse to when facing a surge of imports; and a commitment by developed countries to provide duty-free and quota-free access to cotton exporters from less developed countries from 2016, provided that this is compatible with existing agreements. 

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