The State government must come forward to support the interests of farmers and protect agriculture, by opposing the Centre’s acceptance of the trade facilitation agreement at the recent World Trade Organisation summit.

Addressing press persons on Saturday, representatives of the Safe Food Alliance, a network of citizen’s groups that creates awareness on safe food and health, said that developed nations have raised concerns over India’s food security plan and stocking food grains may distort global agricultural commodity prices.

Devinder Sharma, a food and trade analyst said that developed nations such as US give subsidies to their farmers but they object to India’s expenditure on subsidies. Acceptance of WTO policies would severely affect farmers’ livelihoods and agriculture in the country, he said.

V. Suresh, a Supreme Court-appointed adviser to Tamil Nadu on food security, said that farmers may be denied their rights such as minimum support price for their produce and the public distribution system would also be affected. Under the present WTO rules, such support has to be kept within a limit of 10 percent of the value of production and this would further add to the woes of the farmers.

Representatives of the alliance urged Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to support farmers whose livelihood is under threat. Alliance coordinator, Ananthoo said the government must demand the agreement be reneged when it comes for final approval.

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