NEW DELHI: India has sought a cut in the huge farm subsidies given by developed countries in a move to reduce distortions in global agricultural trade and also raised the issue of protecting its poor farmers’ interests, end hunger and achieve food security at the two day mini ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Marrakech on October 9-10.

Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu who led discussions on behalf of the developing world, also reiterated India’s commitment to the Doha Round that seeks to put in place a global agreement to lower trade barriers.

“He pointed out that any meaningful reform in agriculture must first seek to reduce the disproportionately large subsidies of the developed countries,” said the commerce ministry in a release on Wednesday.

India and China have said the subsidies given by developed members including the US, EU and Canada under a flexibility in the WTO norms amount to nearly US$ 160 billion which is more than 90% of the total global entitlements “resulting in a major asymmetry in the rules on agricultural trade”.

Prabhu held bilaterals to push India’s trade issues including those on public stock holding to safeguard the interests of its low income-resource poor farmers and ensure food security to the poor and emphasised that these must be part of the outcome of the ministerial in December.

“The minister pushed the agenda on behalf of India and the developing world…WTO director general in private agreed with the points put forward,” said an official in the know.

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