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Independent Indian Daily Publishes Program for World Food Production Increase

April 27, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Indian “independent news daily” The Citizen published, April 27, a long article by S.P. Shukla, “Peasants Can Unite the Global South To Beat Back Food Shortages,” in which he clearly supports the Indian farmers’ movement as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that India will “feed the world,” and attacks the restrictions of the WTO. Advising against legal tangles with the WTO over India’s demand to be allowed to export from its food reserve, the paper calls on India’s farmers’ movement to take up the strategy of direct political action, which had gotten the government of India to repeal the “three black laws” over 2020-21.

Shukla, a former Commerce Minister and former Ambassador to General Association on Tariffs and Trade (the predecessor to WTO), writes: “What is needed is a bold initiative in WTO to mobilize support, especially of the countries of the South, for a fresh look at the whole problem of global agrarian economy at the present critical juncture”—i.e., essentially for a new WTO agreement on agriculture. “The guiding principles should be:

“(a) Ensuring food sovereignty of all countries;

“(b) Ensuring a large degree of policy autonomy to developing countries in the matter of agricultural production, pricing, incomes and trade; in particular, to ensure food security to all, and remunerative pricing and decent income to the peasantry and to facilitate orderly transfer of surplus agricultural labor force to non-agricultural activities;

“(c) Promoting equitable and fair opportunities for international trade in agricultural products;

“(d) Promoting direct trade measures such as long term contracts to facilitate viable trade in foodstuffs, particularly among developing countries to mutual advantage of surplus and deficit countries.

“(e) Promote international cooperation to set up regional/country level foodstocks to ensure price stability and as an insurance against shortages due to climatic or speculative reasons;

“(f) To promote agricultural practices that protect and promote the cause of preservation of land, environment and ecology and ensure optimal use and conservation of water;

“(g) To promote cooperative approach at local, regional and international levels, in regard to agricultural production, storage, processing, trade and research.”

It adds to its proposed program the observation: “Russia and China should not be averse to such a move. Russia has adroitly challenged the global order of U.S. dollar supremacy. China is supporting Russia to the hilt. A call from the South to review and reconsider the present dispensation of AoA [WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture], which is essentially tailored to suit the requirements of U.S.A. and EEC and its agribusiness giants, may, in all likelihood, evoke a positive response from both the powers.

“For India and its present rulers, it should be a welcome opportunity to restore India’s traditional role of prominence among the nations of the South. It will be a win-win situation for Russia, China and India.”

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