Published September 21st, 2010
NEW DELHI: A common platform of several farmers groups, the Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements, has charged the Central government with complete lack of transparency on the implications of the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or CEPA with Japan and the inclusion of agriculture on its agenda.
“Such EPAs, like other FTAs, go beyond what cannot be negotiated under the WTO and we are openly opposed to agriculture in the WTO, in EPAs or FTAs,” the Committee has said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Commerce minsiter Anand Sharma and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.
Demanding that the full text of the CEPA be discussed with State governments and debated in Parliament first, the Committee has also expressed apprehension that the CEPA could encroach on the rights of farmers as plant breeders and seed consumers as outlined in the PV&FR Act, 2001 (Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act of 2001). Japanese seed companies could gain stealthy entry into the already crisis-ridden Indian agriculture sector by way of the CEPA, it said.. .