No talks at cost of food security: India to international community

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NEW DELHI: India on Monday ruled out any negotiations at the cost of food security and asked the global community to keep the interests of farmers, indigenous communities and tribal population in mind while contemplating any amendment or revision to international treaties.
“All international forums (including WTO) must not forget that food is a fundamental right. Developing countries will be driven by the necessity to ensure that the rights of farmers producing foods are never compromised,” said Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar while articulating India’s stand on sharing seeds and plant genetic resources.
He was addressing the ninth session of the governing body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) here. The six-day conference will come out with the ‘Delhi Declaration’ on sharing plant genetic resources and related issues on Saturday.
“India stands firm in its belief and actions on the commitments to multi-lateral agreement. However, unless we eliminate the divide between North (developed countries) and South (developing countries), and stand by the aspirations of the treaty founders, we will fail to make any headway,” said Tomar.
The ITPGRFA is a legally-binding agreement signed during the 31st session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome in November, 2001. It currently has 149 contracting countries, including India.
The treaty, in consonance with the Convention on Biological Diversity, seeks to achieve food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, equitable sharing of profits from its use, as well as playing an important role in the recognition of rights of farmers.
India has been a strong advocate of sharing the wealth of genetic resources, underlining that the conservation of such resources are “shared responsibility of the humanity”. The country also supports sharing of plant genetic resources for research and sustainable use.

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