Mr Singh was speaking at an international seminar on Easing the Transition to More Open Global Markets in the Capital organised jointly by the US-based International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC) and the New Delhi-based National Institute of Agriculture. The agriculture minister said that the surest way to fair and painless transition to a more open global market is to achieve substantial reduction in subsidies, presently being provided by the developed countries to their agriculture.
The minister pointed out that the cyclical nature of prices of farm products, combined with exceptionally high subsidies provided by developed countries pose a real threat to farmers in the developing world. He said that India has suffered by removing the quantitative restrictions on imports, citing the example of consequent rise in imports of vegetable oils.
He said, in such a situation the developing countries will have no option but to apply higher levels of tariff protection, so that their agriculture survives the under-priced cheap imports. He urged the developed countries to yield to the proposals of G-20 plus countries.