Indian farmers denounce WTO and celebrate collapse of Ministerial Conference at Argentina

Indian Farmers protest at the venue of Ministerial Conference (PC -Marcos Brindicci/Internet)

Indian farmers were in Bueonos Aires as part of larger delegation of La Via Campesina to attend  it’s People Summit “WTO Out – Building Sovereignty”. The Indian farmers representatives were also accredited as civil society members to attend the World Trade Organization’s 11th Ministerial Conference.

Yudhvir Singh and Rakesh Tikait of BKU submitting the Press release to Mr.Suresh Prabhu
Farmers and Civil Society representatives meeting with Mr.Suresh Prabhu

Indian farmers delegation though smaller in number played major role in manning pressure on Indian government and its delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister, Suresh Prabhu, to defend India’s food security and the livelihoods of millions of poor consumers and farmers. Indian farmers delegation conducted press briefing session followed by which they made press release warning minister to not give in to rich country demands of ending India’s public food stockholding program and farmer subsidies which they deem as trade distorting.

Powerful action by LVC members and allies inside the Ministerial Conference venue.
With representative of Indian government negotiators team and civil society friends.

Indian farmers along with hundreds of Via campesina delegates participated in multiple street actions, debates at the Peoples’ Summit – including a Forum on Food Sovereignty organized by LVC and two moments of powerful direct action within the WTO Ministerial Conference.

Protest inside Ministerial Conference
Indian farmers and civil society representatives shout slogan during protest inside conference( PC -Marcos Brindicci)
Fuera OMC! Protest rally against WTO in Buenos Aires.
La Via Campesina’s People Summit -“WTO Out – Building Sovereignty”
Protesters take out to streets of Buenos Aires to march against WTO
Protesters take out to streets of Buenos Aires to march against WTO
 Indian farmers call for Agriculture Out of WTO!
Down!! Down!! WTO- Korean farmers at the protest rally

The Indian farmers delegation sent clear message to the world that WTO is instrumental in killing lakhs of farmers in India and pointed out that, India is a much bigger, poorer and hungrier country and it cannot trade away the lives of farmers. For Indian farmers agriculture is not just their profession -It is their culture, their life.

Finally, The 11th World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial conference ended after three days of intensive negotiations without any substantial deals reached by it’s 164 member states. The talks  collapsed with the US going back on the commitment made by it along with other member countries to find a permanent solution to the public food stockpile issue. US also objected to any reference to the Doha development mandate in the proposed Ministerial Declaration which was something that was not acceptable to India and many other countries. The US position on a permanent solution led to a collapse of the agriculture negotiations.