Dialogue Report on WTO and Food Security

vieuxcmaq, Mardi, Octobre 10, 2000 - 11:00

Mahammed Tanveer (

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JRC Dialogue Report on WTO and Food Security
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 01:10:07 +0800
From: "Tanveer"

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 10: Implementation of WTO agreements in Pakistan will leave bad
impact on local agriculture system and consequently prices of
agricultural products will shoot upto 14 to 17 % and local farmers will be
turned into mere destitute. Poor countries should constitute a coalition to
protect the interests of local economic base and at national level an
intellectual consortium should be developed where media, civil society and
local framers should sit together to devise a coordinated strategy to cope
with oncoming threats of food insecurity in Pakistan. These observations
were made at a media consultation on "WTO and its implication on Food
Security in Pakistan", organised by the Journalists Resource Centre. The
event was moderated by Nadeem Iqbal from The News on Sunday.

Aftab Alam from Action Aid pointed out as how government excluded farmers
from decision making when they were going to sign WTO agreements, which now
has turned to be killing for the local and small farmer of Pakistan.
Explaining the history of .WTO and its uneven effect on the economy of poor
countries, he maintained that poor countries have no space to negotiate
these agreements with big trading powers and that has virtually paved a way
for an arrogant trade regime which will render subsistence economies of
poor in sever danger.

Aftab also quoted different episodes where big trading powers manipulated
agreements on agriculture in the best of their interest. It was also
brought in the notice that in the line with the WTO agreements it would be
disastrous if indigenous seeds are commercialized. He also complained that
Government of Pakistan lacks expertise in putting their case in
international economic institutions and that lag has let the financial
tycoons decide the fate of weaker economies according to their own whims
and wishes.

Wajid Peerzada, National coordinator WTO Cell affiliated with Pakistan
Agriculture Research Council told the participants that 138 countries are
members of WTO and Pakistan being one of its founder members is bound to
abide by all provisions of agreements on trade and tariff. "We don't find
any escape from this financial and trade tarp, what we can do is to create
a political pressure to peruse WTO for the incorporation of benefit sharing
regime within WTO network ", Peerzada suggested.

He also emphasized to update food laws to fit the real voices of local
farmers. Taking about the politics of patent he told that rich countries
are monopolizing 99% of indigenous seeds which will again go against the
interest of local farmer. Peerzada urged upon various professional interest
groups to cultivate a culture of common responsibility to redress the
issues of common threat.

Khaleeque Zubairi, a veteran journalist was of the view that we have not
undertaken policies of preparedness to properly tackle the issues of
economic and political interest. Government and people at large are not
aware of the detrimental effects of current economic polices which if not
attended in time will put the food growing regions in a state of dire food
security. He told the participants that third world countries should
consolidate their strength to articulate the threatening issues related to
economy, poverty and governance at relevant forums. Zubairi also stressed
policy forums to rearrange domestic strength to meet the ongoing

Among others who spoke on the occasion include Mazahr Arif, Mudassar Rizvi,
Aijaz Ahmad and Amjad Bhatti.
Abrar Ahmad from ministry of food and agriculture could not participate,
however, he sent his presentation in writing which was discussed during
open discussion.

It was proposed that Pakistan Agriculture Research Council and related
government institutions should organize training sessions for journalists
and media practitioners to mobilize public opinion and to inform people
about ways and means as how to respond to these global economic pollicies
which are essentially designed to destroy the local livelihood economic
system of poor farmers.

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