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India to protect own interests at WTO: Pawar

Minister for Agriculture said agriculture in India is not trade, profession or business but a livelihood.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2006 10:45 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

India will be working to protect its own interests at the WTO talks as agriculture in India is not trade, profession or business but a "livelihood," Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar said on Thursday.

A country like India is generally favourable to opening up but that there would have to be a level-playing field, Pawar said in a response to a question at a press briefing at the Embassy of India.

"India is a party in the G-20 and G-20 has taken a particular stand. We would like to protect our own interests. The developing countries' position is altogether different than many other countries," Pawar said.

"For example in a country like India, more than 60 per cent of the population is totally dependent on agriculture. Agriculture is not trade, profession or business in India; it is a livelihood. And with this situation and with this there is one more factor--more than 80 per cent of the farmers are holding about two hectares or about five acres."

"In this situation it is the responsibility of the developing countries to protect the interests of the farming community and from that angle we have taken some collective definitive stand," the Minister maintained.

There are certain countries who are providing subsidies and are expecting certain things from developing countries, which will be difficult for "us to accept their position in toto," Pawar said.

"We are generally for opening the country but simultaneously there has to be in a true sense a level-playing field," he added.

First Published: Jun 08, 2006 10:45 IST