International Trade, Food Security and the Response to the WTO in South Asian Countries
Agriculture contributes substantially to output and employment in South Asian countries. Therefore, any change, like trade liberalization, that impacts on the agriculture sector has widespread ramifications in terms of employment, nutrition, livelihood and food security. Implementation of various provisions of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture causes serious concern with regard to the performance of the agriculture sector and food security, and these countries have become quite sensitive to consequences of future WTO agreements. The cautious approach towards the WTO is mainly caused by the increased dependence on food imports and deterioration in self-reliance in agriculture in the post-WTO period because of a much higher growth in food import as compared to exports. Decline in international prices and trade distortions are the underlying causes for an adverse impact on agriculture during the post-WTO period. South Asian countries should address these two issues in future negotiations.