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South Africa Backs India's Stance on Food Security at WTO

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

South Africa Backs India's Stance on Food Security at WTO

South Africa supports India's stance at WTO on public food stock holding issue as developing nations have responsibility to ensure that "those who are not able to feed themselves" are brought under the food security net, said South African High Commissioner to India F K Morule.

"The developing countries which includes South Africa support India. We are developing countries. So, the majority of people in our countries are not able to feed themselves. They must be supported by government," Morule told PTI.

"So, government must subsidize to a large extent, especially to ensure that the poorest of the poor, ordinary people, those who are marginalised, are within the food security net," he added.

India decided last month not to ratify WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which is dear to the developed world, without any concrete movement in finding a permanent solution to its public food stock-holding issue for food security purposes.

It has asked WTO to amend the norms for calculating agri subsidies in order to procure foodgrains from farmers at minimum support price and sell that to poor at cheaper rates.

The current WTO norms limit the value of food subsidies at 10 per cent of the total value of foodgrain production. However, the support is calculated at the prices that are over two decade old.

India is asking for a change in the base year (1986-88) for calculating the food subsidies. It wants the change to a more current base year on account of various factors such as inflation and currency movements.

There are apprehensions that once India completely implements its food security programme, it could breach the 10 per cent cap. Breach of the cap may lead to imposition of hefty penalties, if a member country drags India to the WTO.

Source: outlookindia.com