New Delhi, Jun 4: Russia has agreed to side with India in agriculture negotiations at the WTO. It would also support the developing countries demand for self-designation of special products for ensuring food and livelihood security, according to the counsellor (agriculture) in the Russian Embassy in India, Valeriya Popotsev.
He complimented India for taking a tough stand at the WTO in interests of the farmers of the developing world. “It would be disastrous for the developing countries to unilaterally open their domestic markets on pressures from the developed countries,” he said.
Popotsev was speaking at a seminar on Tuesday jointly organised by the Bharatiya Krishak Samaj (India’s largest farmers’ union) and the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Delhi to mark the 165th birth anniversary of the famous Russian agri scientist, Kliment A Timiryasev.
He expressed happiness at the good wheat harvest that enabled India to do away with imports. He castigated the EU and the US for their bio-fuel programme, which has caused phenomenal rise in food prices hurting the poor. He said that Russia’s unique collection of seeds is available to anyone in India and can be used to develop local seeds.
Chairing the seminar, the president of Bharatiya Krishak Samaj, Krishan Bir Chaudhary said that India-Russia friendship was time tested. He said that Russia’s co-operation with India in agriculture was without any conditions unlike the US-India Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture where the US has proposed that its companies would have an upper hand in the execution of the deal. It has also proposed to promote genetically modified (GM) crops in India in a big way.
“GM crops are known for their health and environmental hazards. If we promote GM crops at the instance of the US we would be inviting disaster. Russia is a true friend to make India conscious about its export market when recently it temporarily suspended import of Indian rice and sought clarification whether it was genetically contaminated,” said Chaudhary.
The former horticulture commissioner, KL Chadha emphasised upon the need for micro-irrigation, precision farming and boosting horticulture growth rate, which would push the farm growth rate to over 4%.
Professor and chair of the Haryana Institute of Public Administration, J George expressed concern over the issue blaming inadequate distribution, concentration of food in the hands of the few and bio-fuel factor at the global level responsible for the current food crisis.