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Agreement On Agriculture Features

In low-income countries, agriculture employs more than 70% of the population, in middle-income countries 30%, and in high-income countries, only 4%. Between 1990 and 1996, agriculture accounted for 34% of GDP in low-income countries, 8% in middle-income countries and 1.5% in high-income countries. Agriculture provides least developed countries (LDCs) with 34% of their exports, compared to 8.3% in industrialized countries. Domestic aid to agriculture: national commitments to reduce spending by domestic producers. The reductions apply to a wide range of support policies, but the objectives are based on a sectoral aggregate: the entire aggregate support measure. The agreement provides for reductions of 20% in support measures for industrialized countries and 13% for developing countries. The AoA distinguishes the different types of support (see box on page 14). The agreement has been criticized by civil society groups for reducing customs protection for small farmers, an important source of income in developing countries, while allowing rich countries to continue subsidizing agriculture in their own countries. The CGM focuses on three themes: competition policy, agriculture and services, and works mainly in 16 countries whose consumer groups are the main partners. These partners are: IDEC, Brazil; CODEDCO, Bolivia; ADC, Chad; ODECU, Chile; CCF, Fiji; CAG, Ghana; YLKI, Indonesia; CIN, Kenya; ASCOMA, Mali; LIDECONI, Nicaragua; The Network, Pakistan; APC, Poland; SCA, Slovenia; CACPK, South Korea; UCA, Ukraine and ZACA, Zambia.

Other consumer groups and NGOs will also participate in the program`s activities. Export subsidies are the third pillar. The 1995 agricultural agreement required industrialized countries to reduce export subsidies by at least 36% (in value terms) or by 21% (by volume) over a six-year value. For developing countries, the agreement called for reductions of 24% (in value) and 14% (in volume) over ten years. Non-trade concerns include issues such as consumer interests, livelihoods and the environment. Proposals range from the creation of a specific development box to the modification of the agreement to take into account the different benefits of agriculture. For Kenya`s export-oriented agricultural sectors, there is the problem of global price instability. From 1995 to 1997, 55% of Kenyan exports were agricultural, most of it tea, coffee or horticultural products. Low international coffee prices have forced some Kenyan coffee producers to focus on growing food for food and food for their families. Input prices have increased in Kenya in recent years, as they have been in most lifestyle countries. Only four transnational companies produce one third of all commercial seeds, fertilizers and pesticides used worldwide. This report discusses the relationship between the AOA and the broader processes of agricultural liberalization.

Many of the countries mentioned in this report already meet the requirements of the AOAs in order to be open to imports and to avoid large imports. This is often due to the structural adjustment programmes of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank implemented in the 1980s and 1990s, but also to a number of other bilateral and multilateral agreements.


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