Agreement On Agriculture Problems
Health and plant health measures: the removal of customs barriers in agriculture has raised fears of an increase in non-tariff barriers, such as health and safety standards. The SPS agreement allows a country to take measures “necessary for the protection of human, animal or plant life or heather.” The agreement establishes procedures and criteria for assessing health risks and setting appropriate levels of protection. The benchmarks are the codex Alimentarius` international food safety standards. Governments can avail themselves of national standards beyond international standards, provided they have a scientific basis for all the steps they take. The Conference of State Ministers of Agriculture and Food on 14 September 2000 presented a document outlining the essential features of the agreement and the likely issues that would be being negotiated. The EU`s Ministry of Commerce supported the views expressed at the Conference of Ministers of State. These documents are likely available to the public to attract input from interested parties, although, as usual, they were released far too late to allow for meaningful debate. In accordance with Article 20 of the agreement, all members must submit their proposals by the end of December 2000. Developing countries` proposals for export subsidies range from proper regulation to abolition. Developing countries are calling for the implementation of the ministerial decision on NCCs, which provides for the creation of a renewable inter-institutional fund to assist LDCs and NPDs with import invoices. In addition, food aid should take the form of subsidies. Kenya has also requested technical and financial assistance to developing countries to comply with spS rules, as well as an end to the dumping of food exports that do not comply with SPS agreements.
The EU has called for negotiations on export credits, food aid and state-owned commercial enterprises, as well as on export subsidies. Chad is vulnerable to drought, especially in its northern Belts of the Sahara and central Sahara. The south of the country is best suited to agriculture and supports the production of cereals and cotton. Its central belt is the most suitable for livestock production and grain production. Livestock plays an important role in Chad`s exports, and it is the sector on which 40% of the population depends for their living. Fishing is also an important food source and accounts for 10% of GDP. Cotton farming employs 400,000 people. Production is irregular, as is the case for many agricultural raw materials in both countries. As a result, household prices, incomes and food security are very different. Even if the food supply seems sufficient, consumers may not have enough to eat for several reasons.
Food may not be affordable because it is too expensive or because consumers are too poor to pay global prices. Growing basic foodstuffs is an option, but it could also be too expensive if free trade encourages farmers in developing countries to rely on imported seeds, fertilizers or other agricultural inputs sold at world market prices. State price caps or other forms of intervention could solve some of these problems, but such government measures can be problematic under AOA conditions. Market access: proposals for reductions or abolition of tariffs, tariff increases and tariff peaks, as well as simplification of tariffs and changes to special guarantees. In a recent report, it was proposed that some developing countries be able to renegotiate related tariffs and increase tariffs in areas important to food security and livelihoods in rural areas, particularly when these tariffs are lower than the tariffs imposed.