New Delhi: Applauding the firm stand on the food security issue at the WTO meeting in Bali, industry body Assocham Thursday said India must now focus on building an agri-export market and removing supply chain bottlenecks.
"India should concentrate on building an export market for agricultural and value added agri products. With the Food Security deal as a landmark achievement, the Government must work towards creating a borderless domestic market, removing supply constraints and reigning in inflation," Assocham President Rana Kapoor said.
Going forward, India needs to chart a way out of the direct subsidy regime, as the estimated burden of Rs 1.3 lakh crore per year is expected to increase the financial load on middle and lower middle class finances, Kapoor said.
Observing that the agreement at Bali would open up trade options with neighbouring countries, the industry chamber said India needs to participate in multilateral trade in agri products to grab a pie of this huge opportunity.
Last week, negotiators at Bali agreed on a ministerial decision that provides for an interim period of protection to public stockholding programmes for food security purposes of a developing country from being challenged in the WTO on allegations of exceeding the support which they are entitled to provide.
Earlier, developed countries such as the US and the EU were asking India to accept a peace clause, which offers four years of immunity against penalties imposed for breaching the farm subsidy cap of 10 percent under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA).
India and other developing nations, on the other hand, wanted the peace clause until a permanent solution was found on the matter for smooth implementation of the food security programme.
India's demand for immunity from penalties for its food security programme was addressed in the draft text of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA).
As per the AoA draft text, members agreed to put in place an interim mechanism till a final solution was found with regard to public stock holding for food security purposes.