Thursday, February 4, 2016

MAJOR FARMER UNIONS OF INDIA REJECT GM MUSTARD; ASK JAVADEKAR NOT TO ALLOW GEAC TO PROCEED WITH ITS SECRET MEETING TO PROCESS GM MUSTARD APPLICATION ON FEB.5TH

*MAJOR FARMER UNIONS OF INDIA REJECT GM MUSTARD:*
 
*ASK JAVADEKAR NOT TO ALLOW GEAC TO PROCEED WITH ITS SECRET MEETING TO
PROCESS GM MUSTARD APPLICATION ON FEB.5TH*
 
*New Delhi, February 3rd, 2016*: All major farmer unions of India, in a
joint statement, have slammed the Minister for Environment, Forests and
Climate Change for allowing the regulatory body for transgenics to meet on
February 5th to decide on the fate of GM mustard. They demanded that the
secret meeting of the regulator be cancelled immediately by the Minister.

“All major mustard growing states in India, including BJP-ruled states,
heeding to citizens’ voices and scientific advice, have come out against GM
mustard. They have also expressed concern about the secretive processes
adopted by the regulators and for not putting out biosafety data in the
public domain. The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre’s
regulators on a contempt petition. Despite all of this, Prakash Javadekar
is allowing Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to hold its
meeting to process the GM mustard application on Friday (Feb.5th). It makes
us wonder what and wherefrom is the need and pressure emerging from”, they
said. They objected to the secretive manner in which the government is
proceeding on this matter, without public scrutiny of data or any public
consultations including with farmers’ unions, despite the GMO being created
ostensibly for farmers’ benefit.
 
The farmer unions pointed out that the government is pushing unneeded,
unwanted and unsafe GMOs on the farming community, when viable and feasible
alternatives that are safe, affordable and farmer-controlled are already
available that need to be promoted with farmers for sustainable farm
livelihoods. In the case of mustard for instance, there are non-transgenic
hybrids already available in the market, in addition to high-yielding
mustard varieties. Further, new agro-ecological approaches like System of
Mustard Intensification (SMI) are out-yielding these unsafe solutions
significantly, ensuring vastly-increased profitability for farmers, if
yield is a concern in the first instance. Such alternatives are not however
being invested upon by the government, probably because of collusion with
the seed and chemical industry. The experience with Bt cotton, which has
not addressed the issue of farm crisis or reduced the number farm suicides
is another example. This year, lakhs of farmers in Gujarat, Punjab,
Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Telangana suffered due to whitefly and
pink bollworm attack on Bt cotton while the seed companies are going
scot-free without being made accountable for the losses. Leaders of the
farmer unions pointed out that after 13 years of Bt cotton in India, the
myth around GM crops has been busted fully, while a deadly unaccountable
experiment was unleashed on the lives of farmers. Agro-chemical usage has
gone up in cotton, including of pesticides, and most cotton seed in the
market is today controlled by one MNC, known for its anti-farmer operations
– Monsanto.
 
There was deep concern expressed about control in farming wrested from
farmers’ hands into the hands of agro-industry, whether it be of seed
companies or chemical companies. The developers of GM mustard hold several
patents related to the product, and are obviously free to sell these IPRs
to any large corporation despite wearing the garb of public sector
scientists at this point of time. There is also the question of native seed
varieties being contaminated by GM mustard. Foreign genes related to male
sterility and herbicide tolerance will then affect the crop of non-GM
growers also. There are many farmers in north India who also take up
bee-keeping along with mustard cultivation, and scientific evidence on GM
mustard shows that bee population will get affected. This would lead to
losses in both mustard production and honey production for these farmers,
they pointed out. The farmer unions also informed that while there are many
extant farmers’ varieties waiting to be registered with the Plant Varieties
Protection and Farmers Rights Authority, this is not happening while
public-sector and private-sector varieties are being prioritized for the
purpose. Why is the government not protecting these farmers’ varieties and
promoting the same, they demanded to know.
 
These farmer unions warned that the fate of the government in the case of
GM mustard will be that of an unwanted land ordinance that the government
pressed for again and again, uncaring of the public mood and demand. They
reiterated that they will resist any environmental release approval of any
GMO in the country with all their strength, and work towards real solutions
that will support farm livelihoods.
 
*For more information, contact*:
Shri Mohinimohan Misra (BKS): 090136-19587
Com Malla Reddy (AIKS): 094900-98666
Shri Yudhvir Singh (AICCFM): 098681-46405
 
Com Hannan Mollah, General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (36 Canning Lane)

Yudhvir Singh, General Secretary, All India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (AICCFM)
Mohinimohan Misra, National Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS)
Atul Kumar Anjan, General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (Ajay Bhawan)
Yogendra Yadav, Jai Kissan Andolan
Raghav Sharan Sharma, President, All India Agragami Kissan Sabha
Ch. Rakesh Tikait, National Spokesman, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU)
Ram Pal Jat, National President, Kissan Mahapanchayat,
Chamarasa Malli Patil, President, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS)
Baburam Sharma, President, All India Krantikari Kissan Sabha
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Punjab
Uttam Gayen, General Secretary, Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity, West Bengal
K. Sella Mutthu, President, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association
Maganbhai Patel, President, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), Gujarat
S. Malla Reddy, Vice President, All India Kisan Sabha
Badribhai Joshi, Secretary, Khedut Samaj, Gujarat
Badri Narayan Chaudhary, Mahamantri, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Rajasthan
Virendra Kumar Shrivastava, President, Laghu Simant Krishak Morach, Uttar Pradesh
Chukki Najundawamy, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS)
KT Gangadhar,Coordinator, South India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (SICCFM)
Ambubhai Patel, Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Gujarat
Vijay Jawandhia, Shetkari Sangathana, Maharashtra
B. Chandra Reddy, Secretary, Telangana Rythu Sangham
Kodand Reddy, President, Kisan Khet Mazdoor Congress, Telangana
Saroj Mohanty, Paschim Odisha Krushak Samanvay Samiti
Sagar Rabari, Secretary, Khedut Samaj, Gujarat
Bhagwan Dadhich, Kisan Sewa Samiti, Rajasthan
Jayant Verma, Vice President, All India Agragami Kissan Sabha
Kiran Vissa, Raithu Swarajya Vedika, Telengana
Rajesh Singh Chouhan, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Uttar Pradesh
Ms. Rajariga, President, Women Wing, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association
Gurman Singh, President, Bhartiya Kissan Union, Haryana
K.P Illias, Secretary, Kerala Jaiva Karshaka Samithi,
S. Kannaiyan, Secretary, South India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (SICCFM)
KS Puttanaiah (MLA), Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS),
Selvaj, Tamil Nadu Organic Farmers Federation
Jagdish Singh, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Madhya Pradesh
Vidyadhar Olkha, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Rajasthan
Pradeep Singh Thakur, General Secretary, All India Krantikari Kissan Sabha
Ms. Nilam Prabhat, State Coordinator, Aroh Mahila Kisan Manch, Uttar Pradesh
Ratan Singh Mann, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Haryana
Vettavalam ManiKandan, President, Thamizaga Vivasaayikal Sangam,
Indhiya Uzavar Uzaippaligal Katchi 
Nallagounder,  Uzhavar Ulaippalar Katchi, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association
Davison, Kerala Coconut Farmers Association
Gomathinayagam, President,
Vivasaya Seva Samgam-Puliangudi,Thirunelveli Dist 
Vellaiyan, President, Tamilnadu Vanigar Peravai, Chennai
Sukhdev Singh Gill, State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Himachal Pradesh
Satnam Singh Cheema,State President, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Uttrakhand
Dhan Singh Sherawat, Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Maharashtra
Virendra Dagar, State President Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU),
Delhi Rural Pamayan, Thalaanmai Farmers Movement
Adv Pradeep Kumar, Kerala Haritha Sena
Balaji Sankar, Tharcharbu Iyakkam
Pasya Padma, Secretary, Telangana Rythu Sangham
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Business Standard: Sugarcane farmers block national highways

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/sugarcane-farmers-block-national-highways-116020101310_1.html
February 1, 2016

Sugarcane farmers, under the aegis of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, blocked traffic movement on major highways, including the Lucknow-and Dehradun-Delhi highways, demanding payment of and increase in sugarcane prices.
BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said the Uttar Pradesh government has fooled the farmers through its "delaying tactics" by not forcing sugar mills in the state to pay them an arrear amount of Rs.673 crore.
He named Titavi, Simbhaoli, Mahana and Daurala sugar mills as the major defaulters, and said only Rs.112 crore has been paid till now after a hue and cry by the farmers.
"There has been no increase in sugarcane prices in the last four years. A price of Rs.280 per quintal was announced in 2012 and it remains the same," said V.M. Singh, another farmer leader and a former Uttar Pradesh legislator from Pilibhit.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Daljeet Chaudhry said the situation was under control and police maintained a "lenient attitude" towards the agitating farmers though they blocked the and local roads in Bijnore and Meerut.

GEAC meets Feb 5th to decide on GM Mustard: Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements Cautions against Commericalization

PRESS RELEASE: NATIONAL FARMERS COORDINATION CAUTIONS AGAINST COMMERCIALIZATION OF GM MUSTARD 

FEBRUARY 2, 2016

The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements demands the GEAC committee to say "no" to the commericalization of GM Mustard. 

We are a network of farmers movements that is committed to dignity and self-respect for farmers, and many of our members are in the international peasants’ movement La Via Campesina.  We represent thousands of villages in India and hundreds of thousands of farming families. Our member movements, such as Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, have taken staunch action against the giant enemies of farmers since it’s founding in the 1980s (For example Operation Cremate Monsanto in 1993, which created an international fervor). We have, and continue to, reject the so-called benefits of GMOs to our farmers, environment, and citizens

Last March 2014 we occupied the home of Union Minister Veerappa Moily after he gave a sweeping approval to GM trials, and we continue this fight even under the new government; we will not hesitate to take to the streets to make stand that GM is a dangerous bargain known to the world. We urge you to stop the commercialization of GM Mustard, and annul the clearance of all remaining GM crops for field trials.
Genetically modified crops are a threat to the livelihoods of the farmers of the nation; one threat among many, in truth. The proliferation of GM crops will transfer the ecological wealth that farmers conserve and protect to the bank accounts of profit-hungry corporate interests. The privatization of seed further and the property rights associated with Genetically Modification Organisms is a dangerous weapon against farmers who can be sued by corporations for “infractions” and a push towards acute economic distress. It is also an affront on the sovereignty of our nation and our right to control our own biological diversity.

Regarding GM mustard, and other oil seeds, after the Rajiv Gandhi Oil Seed Mission, you may recall that India was nearly self sufficient in oil seeds. Only after that, in 1994, when cheap oil imports began after liberalization, the local market was crushed and our self sufficiency was eroded. Now, proponents of GM Mustard claim that it will increase yield and reduce our imports! We urge you to address the root cause of the issues, asymmetrical and harmful trade agreements and the project of neoliberalisation, than stick to the ‘growth for growth’s sake’ propaganda that helps line the MNC’s pockets with profits.

However, we are not just concerned about the wellbeing of oil seed. We are concerned about the environment, which affects farmers, consumers, and other agricultural producers and the urban poor alike. GM crops are designed to be grown in a mono-culture, chemical input-intensive, large scale manner. Industrial agricultural is environmental suicide. This is not an exaggeration – more than 50% of greenhouse gases are produced through this unsustainable, illogical, and corporate-driven system. Climate change is real, and it is has already started. Conflicts such as the war in Syria can be traced to climate-related migration. If we do not halt climate change we will not only see the destruction of our planet but the destruction of global harmony as we know it.

This is why we take action to promote small scale farming, as a solution to climate change and as a necessary ingredient to a self-sustaining and resilient India. Agriculture is more than just an industry whose profits can be maximized and its costs reduced: it is a way of life, a social structure, a collaboration with nature, and, first and foremost, the only method for us to feed ourselves. We promote peasant agroecology by saving our local seeds, strengthening our local economies and carrying for our unique ecological systems. We defend our seed sovereignty as an essential piece here: seed is patrimony, developed by generations of farmers through their intellectual labour. All the varieties of mustard that we have today have been developed by women and men farmers over generations. India is a Center for Diversity for mustard, and perhaps even a center of origin. 12,755 accessions of rapeseed mustard are available in India according to Directorate of Rapeseed Mustard Research of Indian Council of Agriculture Research . Introducing GM Mustard is a threat to this biodiversity as farmers increase market dependency and stop saving seed.

The food supply being contaminated by GM crops is a risk we farmers are not willing to take. Long-term, independent studies to verify the safety of GM crops have not been completed. The studies which exist were completed by the corporations themselves: how can the sick man be his own doctor? In countries such as the United States, citizens are unaware that 90% of their food is genetically modified and are rushing to get it labeled. Corporations are blocking them. Citizens want to know if their food is safe. Why are the corporations so scared if they have nothing to hide? India can go one step further by stopping the invasion of GM crops before it is too late. Before we are another example of a country who jumped on the “technology” wagon without realizing it was a doomed journey.

GM crops are an unproven technology, which has not stood the test of scientific rigor. They are an unnecessary addition of pressure into a system that is already squeezing the farmer dry. And they are an unchangeable relinquishment of national sovereignty to corporate interests that will threaten our food supply and our ability to control our own food chain. In short, the case for GM crops is weak, though the vested interests are strong.
We are shocked to see BJP deviating from its Manifesto
[1] and its National Executive’s Resolution on Agriculture that condemned GM crops and clearly demands moratorium on it and following the path of its predecessor in betraying the interests of farmers. We hope that you stand for what you promised us and demonstrate the self-respect that we demand of our state’s farmers.

We urge you to take these points into consideration, to stop the commercialization of GM Mustard and to annul the approval of all GM field trials. In doing so you avoid the irreparable damage that GMOs will cause to our food sovereignty.

Sincerely,

Yudhvir Singh BKU
Rakesh Tikait, BKU U.P
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, State President, BKU Punjab,
KS Puttanaiah, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha,Karnataka
Chamarasa Patil, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha,Karnataka
Sh Vijay Jawandhia, Shetkari Sanghatna Maharashtra
S Kannaiyan, South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements
Tanmay Joshi, South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements
CK Janu, Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha
Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Karnataka Rajya Ryot Sangha, Karnataka
Sella Mutthu, President, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, Tamil Nadu
Selvaraj, VTMS, Tamil Nadu

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hindu: An invisible war is being waged on the working class: Devanur Mahadeva



RAICHUR, January 25, 2016

Updated: January 25, 2016 05:43 IST

Farmers setting fire to Bt cotton crop destroyed by pink bollworm to mark the inauguration of a conference in Raichur on Sunday.— PHOTO: SANTOSH SAGAR
Farmers setting fire to Bt cotton crop destroyed by pink bollworm to mark the inauguration of a conference in Raichur on Sunday.— PHOTO: SANTOSH SAGAR
‘Corporate companies have turned our food and water into poison’
Referring to corporate control over the farm sector and the resultant agrarian crisis and farmer suicide, writer Devanur Mahadeva said that an invisible war was being waged against the working class. He was addressing a State-level farmers conference at the APMC Market Yard here on Sunday after inaugurating the event by burning Bt cotton plants destroyed by pink bollworm pest attack.

The event was organised jointly by the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), the Jana Sangram Parishath (JSP), the Grameena Krishi Cooli Karmikara Sanghatane, the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, the Hyderabad Karnataka Raitha Sangha, the State Bt Cotton Eradication Committee and other organisations.

“If we look around with sensitivity, we find an invisible imperialist war being waged on the working class. Unlike the wars in the past, this war is invisible. Imperialist forces have turned our food and water into poison. Our soil and seed are being killed. The farmers who have grown crops with the seeds provided by corporate companies are getting killed. It is a war being waged by imperialist forces on the common people. In the pre-Independence era, only one company plundered us. Now, hundreds of foreign companies are looting us,” he said.

Bt cotton
Mr. Mahadeva focussed on Bt cotton crop destroyed by pink bollworm pest attack in Raichur and other districts despite the claims of Bt cotton seed producers that they resistant to pests.

“Bt cotton cultivation is proving to be fatal for farmers. Impact of Bt cotton is similar to that of an explosion of nuclear bomb. The Bt cotton fields are being destroyed by the pest forcing the farmers to prepare a noose from the same cotton fibre that they are growing,” he said.

Mr. Mahadeva criticised successive Indian governments for serving their imperialist masters by formulating pro-corporate and anti-farmer agrarian policies.

“As many as 38 countries in the world have banned Bt cotton cultivation. But India didn’t do it. For multinational corporations, India, and its people, have become a laboratory for their research,” he said.

Mr. Mahadeva called upon the people to wean away from corporate-driven agriculture and gradually move towards sustainable natural farming. “We need to be more sensitive and get united for a larger fight for protecting Indian agriculture from corporate onslaught,” he said.

Pay compensation
Chamarasa Malipatil, State president of KRRS, demanded that the government hold Bt cotton seed companies responsible for crop destruction in the pest attack and compel them to pay compensation to affected farmers.
“The seed producing companies had claimed that Bt cotton crop was resistant to pink bollworm pest. However, the very same pest has destroyed the crop in the State. The government should hold the seed producers responsible and force them to pay compensation,” he said. He also demanded disbursement of relief to all drought-hit farmers both in rain-fed and irrigated areas and farm loan waiver.

The conference was presided over by Raghavendra Kushtagi, State working president of Jana Sangram Parishath. Amaranna Gudihal, Bandeppa Gowda, Lakshman Gowda, Mahadevi, Yatiraj, Venkatesh Patil Watagal and Eeranna Bengali were present.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

#ENDWTO: WTO kills farmers and destroys communities in Thailand and India

Posted Originally: http://viacampesina.org/en/index.php/actions-and-events-mainmenu-26/10-years-of-wto-is-enough-mainmenu-35/1945-wto-kills-farmers-and-destroys-communities-in-thailand-and-india

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-12-18-India.jpg(Nairobi, December 17, 2015) Chamarasa Mali Patil of Karnataka Rajya Ryata Sangh (KRRS) and K. Sellamuthu, president of Thamizhaqa Vivasayigal Sangam, peasant delegates from India shared how under WTO peasants have suffered. Indian peasant communities have been destroyed as a result of cheap imports of oilseeds and rice.
Rakesh Tikait from Bhartiya Kissan Union (India) said that WTO and the opening up of agricultural markets to imports have affected India’s food sovereignty. The country was able to feed itself before food imports surged due to tariff reduction. As a result of the increased agricultural imports which lower local prices many India peasant farmers committed suicides as they could settle mounting debts. Over 300,000 farmers have committed suicides since the inception of WTO.
When India opened up its agricultural markets, Monsanto and other agro-corporates entered too and hoodwinked many peasants to buy toxic agro-chemicals and GMOs. Peasants bought GM seeds such as the Bt cotton which failed to yield promised output. As some peasants had used loans to buy these seeds and agro-chemicals they failed to pay the lenders. This resulted in many peasant suicides.
They plan to block all major roads in New Delhi with tractors to force government to listen to their demands. “We are planning a big demonstration in New Delhi soon if the India government compromises in Nairobi”, says Sellamuthu, president of Thamizhaqa Vivasayigal Sangam.
“Unity among the different farmer unions is very important in this struggle. The government only listens to us when we are united. In future we are going to organise bigger mobilisations targeting foreign embassies in our country against the WTO in solidarity with our fellow peasants” says Chamarasa Mali Patil of Karnataka Rajya Ryata Sangh (KRRS)
In Thailand Barachmee Chaiyarat of Assembly of the Poor (AOP) shared how the rice imports affected small farmers in Thailand, which produces surplus rice. Many small farmers are finding it difficult to continue farming. Since military coup in 2014 AOP members are heavily affected by military suppressions. Farmer suicides are on the rise.  Rice prices halved. Other agricultural produce has also been affected too. The military government is making their life difficult. There is no freedom of assembly. In order to please the international governments, the illegitimate military will accept any deals of WTO at expense of the Thai people. 

#ENDWTO: Developing Countries return Empty Handed from WTO’s Nairobi Ministerial

#ENDWTO: Developing Countries return Empty Handed from WTO’s Nairobi Ministerial

By Afsar Jafri (Focus on the Global South) 
The tenth Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) concluded today, a day after its scheduled duration. Those of us who were in Nairobi, however are still contemplating how it is possible to have a successful outcome despite the fundamental differences among members on crucial issues. How come the MC10 which was at one point on the verge of collapse sailed through? Why a country like India with a 1.2 billion population was silenced and forced to accept a BAD deal compromising its policy space and above all its sovereignty?
After a 24 hour-long non-stop marathon meeting on 19th December, the draft Nairobi Ministerial Declaration (NMD), also called the Nairobi Package, was finalised and endorsed by Members despite clear disappointment expressed by India and other developing and least developed countries (LDCs), and their ‘explicit disagreement’ on the issue of reaffirmation of Doha Development Round (DDR), one of the key issues in Nairobi. The split of opinion on the DDR is clearly reflected in the NMD text. Paragraph 30 says, “We recognize that many Members reaffirm the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), and the declarations and decisions adopted at Doha and at the Ministerial Conferences held since then, and reaffirm their full commitment to conclude the DDA on that basis. Other Members do not reaffirm the Doha mandates, as they believe new approaches are necessary to achieve meaningful outcomes in multilateral negotiations. Members have different views on how to address the negotiations. We acknowledge the strong legal structure of this Organization”.
The NMD contains six decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to LDCs. The agricultural decisions cover commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports, public stockholding for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and measures related to cotton. Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment for least developed countries (LDCs) in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences.
Given the vast differences among WTO members on different aspects of the agricultural negotiation during the MC10 negotiations, some of us from the civil society groups and representatives of La Via Campesina from different parts of the world were hopeful that the Ministerial would remain inconclusive and there would be a repeat of Seattle or Cancun. Given the 20 years history of WTO, we were concerned that the final outcome will be pro-US at the cost of third world interests. Our apprehensions were proved correct when the NMD was finally adopted on 19th December. The United States (US) got what it wanted at this first ever Ministerial Conference in Africa, giving nothing to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Africans and other developing countries. After five days of hectic discussion at the MC10, more than 150 member countries of the WTO from the South had nothing to take away from here. They return empty handed from Nairobi while the US and big corporations will celebrate because they got what they wanted from the MC10. There is no permanent solution on food stockholding and no decision on special safeguard mechanisms (SSM) for developing countries. They got an extension of deadline for elimination of Exporting Subsidies, longer repayment term for export financing support (export credit). There was no-affirmation of Doha Development Round (DDR) and most importantly, language in the NMD to open discussion on the new issues (Singapore issues). Once again, the Ministerial declaration, offers a full cake to developed countries and not even a slice to developing countries. It once again vindicates our position that the WTO cannot deliver for the poor and only serves the interests of the rich.
When the Nairobi Ministerial began, no other issue except agriculture was on the agenda. GATS, NAMA and TRIPS were kept aside at Nairobi so that it concertedly delivers positive outcomes on agriculture to benefit the developing countries. But as NMD indicates there are absolutely no positive outcomes for Africa and countries of the South in the WTO.
Before Nairobi Ministerial Declaration however, only one agreement was signed, a plurilateral agreement on Information Technology Agreement 2 (ITA-2) among 53 countries--compared to 82 countries that signed ITA I. They agreed to remove tariffs on 201 information and communications technology (ICT) products by 2024 (tariffs on major products among the 201 items will be removed within three years covering 89 percent of the 201 items by trade value). The covered goods represent about 96 percent of global trade in the enumerated ICT products. India is not party to the ITA-2 since it had suffered a devastating impact of ITA-1 on its domestic electronic hardware sector. The ITA-2 will have a devastating impact on the emerging IT hardware industry in Asia, Africa and Lain America, which is offering all kinds of incentives to investors in order to promote manufacturing of IT and electronics products in their countries. 
Some developing countries are also exulting that there is an agreement in the NMD on elimination of export subsidies in agriculture, but the fact of the matter is that under the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration of 2005, developed countries were supposed to eliminate all their export subsidies by December 2013. And in Nairobi they succeeded in extending this commitment to 2020, a seven-year extension. But this exemption will not apply to “processed products and dairy products for the Members who have notified export subsidies for such products or categories of products in their latest notification on export subsidies to the Committee on Agriculture”. It is the processed products and dairy products from the US and EU that are increasingly penetrating into the markets of developing countries and devastating local food industries. Hae-Yeon Chung of the Korean Peasants League said “poor farmers have nowhere to sell their farm produce while their industries continue to close shop, sending their workers home because processed foodstuffs are flooding supermarket shelves across the world. Our products cannot compete with the processed foodstuffs from Europe and America since they have been priced so low”. Peasants from Korean Peasants League (KPL) and La Via Campesina (LVC) from different parts of the world marched on the streets of Nairobi every day protesting against the WTO. Their key slogans were “Agriculture is not your trade, it is our life. Our life is not for trade. #ENDWTO. Remove WTO out of Agriculture.”
Losses for Developing countries and Agriculture at the MC10
No decision on a Permanent Solution to the Food Stockholding programme: The General Council Decision of 27th November 2014 reaffirmed that WTO members will make all concerted efforts to agree and adopt a permanent solution on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes by 31 December 2015. But the NMD Decision on Public Stockholding (WT/MIN(15)/W/46) offers only pious intent to find a solution, thus ignoring the issue of right to food for poor consumers and price support to the subsistence farmers which is the backbone of food security programme in countries like India. At MC10, the issue of a permanent solution was the most neglected issue and no serious efforts were made to secure this at any cost despite the fact that not only India, but several African countries like Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Egypt and Kenya, all have public food stockholding programmes in maize.
No final decision on Special Safeguard Mechanisms (SSM): This was a key demand under special and differential treatment (S&DT) from the G33 in order to protect their food producers from import surges. But this has again been ignored in Nairobi. Though the Decision on SSM (WT/MIN(15)/W/45) in the NMD says the developing country members will “have the right to have recourse” to a special safeguard mechanism “as envisaged under paragraph 7 of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration” that means it will be based on import quantity and price triggers.
But paragraph 2 of the Decision on SSM indicates that the decision on SSM is not final. It says “pursue negotiations on an SSM for developing country Members in dedicated sessions of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session ("CoA SS")”.
The developed countries are blocking this basic safeguard for developing countries even though they themselves have access to similar mechanisms such as special agriculture safeguard measures (SSG), which allows them to increase tariffs on imported products in order to protect their domestic food producers and stablize prices in their own countries. They also have access to several other mechanisms, which act as effective safeguards against imports, such as Tariff Peaks, Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) and Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs). But the US, EU, Canada and Australia are not ready to allow access to SSM to developing countries, despite several reported cases of import surges in the past. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Kenya had experienced import surges of maize, sugar, and dairy. Similar surges were experienced in rice, tomato paste, and poultry in Ghana; poultry, rice, and vegetable oils in Cameroon; rice and dairy products in Tanzania; poultry and vegetables oils in Mozambique; and rice, poultry, and sugar in Côte d’Ivoire. Haiti is a classic example where US imports of rice led to complete devastation of rice cultivation in Haiti prompting Former US President Bill Clinton to apologize to Haitians in 2011, when he became the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, “I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did. Nobody else”.
Between 1980 and 2003, FAO found that there were between 7,132 to 12,167 import surges of 23 ‘food groups’ in 102 developing countries. This shows that more countries are moving from being net food exporting countries to becoming food deficit or net food importing countries.  The increase in import bills without any apparent respite has led to deepening current account deficits in these countries. The cost of the food imports basket for the LDCs in 2007 was roughly 90 percent more than what it was in 2000. This is in contrast to a 22 percent increase in the cost of food imports in developed countries during the same period. The world’s food import bill stood at $745 billion in 2007, up by 21 percent from 2006, and out of which developing countries footed $233 billion.
No Relief to Cotton four (C4) countries on Cotton: The NMD Decision on cotton (WT/MIN(15)/W/48) provides some relief to the C4 countries but much below their expectation based on their proposal submitted before Nairobi Ministerial on 12 October 2015. The cotton sector is the second largest formal employer in Benin, Burkinsa Faso, Chad, and Mali and almost one million farm unions provide employment to seven to eight million actively farming adults and livelihoods to some 10 to 13 million people. But these countries face major challenge in marketing their produce because of restricted access and the heavy subsidies by the US to their cotton growers.
The NMD Decision on cotton does not provide binding commitments but only best endeavour outcomes, e.g. on Market access, the Decision calls for cotton from LDCs to be given duty-free and quota-free access to the markets of developed countries - and to those of developing countries declaring that they are able to do so - from 1 January 2016. The domestic support part of the cotton decision acknowledges members' reforms in their domestic cotton policies and stresses that more efforts remain to be made. On export competition for cotton, the decision mandates that developed countries prohibit cotton export subsidies immediately and developing countries do so at a later date.
Agricultural Subsidies (Domestic Support): It is quite surprising that post Doha, this is the first Ministerial where there was no discussion about cutting down massive trade-distorting farm subsidies offered by developed countries which affect the market internationally.
Despite the completely biased deal in favour of developed countries, none from African countries, the LDCs and other developing countries came out openly against the dictates of the US to turn the whole deal in their favour. There was some discomfort among few developing countries members on the draft Ministerial Declaration, because it did not commit reaffirmation of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). They were also upset that the NMD did mention the possibility of new issues being introduced.
The MC 10 will be remembered as the graveyard of the Development agenda under the Doha Round. And it will also be remembered as the conference where members agreed to bring on board new issues that they themselves buried in Cancun in 2003. The Nairobi Ministerial Conference outcomes warrant that developing countries should join hands to leave the WTO and bury the WTO forever. #