Indian agriculture minister Ajit Singh has demanded the creation of a food security box (FSB) within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a bid to safeguard the interests of developing countries.

Speaking at a conference of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Italy, Singh explained that many developing world farmers are at subsistence level and increasingly vulnerable to liberal trade dynamics. As such, countless farmers have been adversely affected by the decline in international prices of agricultural commodities.

A food security box will provide a safeguard mechanism to protect farmers from import surges, and thus enable them to be more competitive in the global market.

“An FSB is urgently needed to remove the skewed nature of the present dispensation where the developed countries extend subsidies of US$300bn dollars to small community of affluent farmers while preventing the developing nations from doing the same,” he argued.

Singh also noted the need for an international exchange of scientific knowledge regarding biotechnology developments and on risk assessment of GMOs.