Speakers at a seminar in Katmandu, Nepal on Monday proposed that the least development countries (LDC) along with the developing countries should have been able to exercise their right to ensure food security for their poor people. Though WTO (World Trade Organization) thinks that this food security agenda will distorts the global trade.
The WTO’s decision of 1995 about giving 10% subsidy for the people should not be enforced at present considering inflation and price hike in essentials. They said the decision should be rationalized in keeping with the present scenario.
The seminar titled “The world Trade Organization, Agriculture and the right to food,” held at the hall room of Administrative Staff College in Lalitpur district adjacent to Katmandu in Nepal is organized by Seven civil service organizations including Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), South Solidarity Initiative-Action Aid, India, Third World Network (TWN) of India and LDC Watch of Nepal as a part of the 3-day People’s SAARC regional Convergence. The People’s SAARC Regional Convergence, a south Asian mega event of civil society, took place in Nepal from 22 to 24th November as the parallel event of the official SAARC Summit on behalf of the people of South Asia.
Benny Kuruvilla of South Solidarity Initiative-Action Aid of India moderated the seminar while among others Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Mostafa Kamal Akanda of Equity and Justice Working Group, Ranja Sengupta of Third World Network and Prerna Bomzan of LDC Watch Nepal spoke.
Addressing the seminar, Badrul Alam said WTO is worse than World Bank and IMF. It has own teeth to bite meaning it has the legal rights to punish its member states if fail to comply with the decision. He added, it is an undemocratic and illegitimate institution and is promoting the neo-liberal economic agenda in favour of the multinational companies.
Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD said, there was popular demand to allocate more in agriculture in the current national budget of Bangladesh but the government was forced by IMF and World Bank not to increase it. And this is how Bangladesh government was bound to switch the allocation for agricultural subsidy to social safety net.
Ranja Sengupta of India said WTO is ignoring genuine food security and the present livelihood concern and pushing aggressive trade liberalization, which is destroying the livelihood of farmers as well as the environment in the South Asia.
Prerna Bomzan said in her speech since development was at the centre of Doha Round, the LDC issues must be prioritized. The Bali LDC package must be implemented immediately because it is still non-binding in nature.
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