Dhaka, 9 April: Twelve farmers’ organizations on Saturday termed the recent WTO treaty on subsidy withdrawal from the agricultural sector as suicidal for the food security of Bangladesh.
They were speaking from a human chain and rally held in front of the national press club.
They said, `The 10th Ministerial Conference of World Trade Organization (WTO) has decided to bring an end to subsidies of agriculture’.
Developing countries will remove subsidies within 2020, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and net food-importing countries will do that within 2030.
It means countries like Bangladesh has to stop all its supports towards agriculture.
The human chain titled ‘Is govt. prepared for post subsidy era, saving small farmers, and to gain sustained self-sufficiency’ was jointly organized by Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, Labour Resource Center, Kendrio Krishok Moitri, Bangladesh Kishani Shova, Bangladesh Krishak Federation (JI) , Bangladesh Adibasi Somity, Bangaldesh Fish Workers’ Alliacne, Haor farmers and fishers alliance, National Women farmers and workers Association and COAST.
Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust moderated the human chain. Among others Badrul Alam of Bangaldesh Krishak Federtaion, Subal Sarker of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Jayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Anupom Mahmud of Haor farmers and Fishers Alliance and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust also spoke on the occasion.
On behalf of the organizers Md. Mujibul haque Munir of COAST Trust placed specific recommendations from the human chain, these are: (i) implementation of strong laws controlling commercialization of agricultural lands to save small farmers’ land and to refrain marginalized farmers from selling their lands, (ii) introduction of cooperative farming to save the small scale farmers, govt. incentives must be there to save the small scale farmers (iii) Establishment of sustainable embankments in coastal areas must get priorities to save the coastal farmers from river erosion, flash flood and sea level rising (iv) implementation of strong and effective market mechanism, so that farmers access and control over the marker established, (v) enhanced capacities of public sector in seeds productions and distribution, more allocation for BADC must be ensured, (vi) We demand extension of sustainable and eco-friendly agricultural technologies.
Rezaul Karim said, the country has become a food surplus country and we are exporting food and food import is also going, what is the reality then? Agriculture of Bangladesh can’t be treated same as the developed countries. Developed countries have been able to enhance capacities of their farmers with huge subsidies and technical support. They have become the industry now. So, withdrawal of subsidy in developed countries and in Bangladesh can’t have the same impact.
Subal Sarkar said, USA provides BDT 3 lakh to farmers per day, It provides 400 million dollars per day as Agri-subsidy. In Europe one farmer gets 6 dollar per day while in Bangladesh one farming family gets only 90 dollars per year! Hence, we are continually forced to withdraw subsidies.
This is just to create their agri-products market in our market and to make our agriculture sector dependent to their companies. Badrul Alam said, we can remember that in 2008 we could not manage food even having money with us.
The way the agriculture is becoming controlled by some multinational companies; in near future food stocks will be controlled by the monopoly of some companies. We will have to be very careful about.
We will have to take measures right now to cope with the emerging situation. Anupom Mahmdud said, our food security has to be secured by us, and that is why we will determine our agriculture policy.