Agreement on Agriculture AoA

© Salvatore di Nolfi/Keystone
The Agreement on Agriculture entered into force in 1995. It aims to improve market access for agricultural goods and to reduce domestic as well as export subsidies. The overarching aim of expanding trade in agricultural goods is biased towards export-oriented agriculture.

The AoA demonstrates that the North is not prepared to recognise the specific needs and problems of agriculture in the South. As a result, the Agreement pays little heed to the crucial economic and social role that the agricultural sector plays in a country’s development.

The entry into force of the AoA has hugely reduced countries of the South’s policy space in determining their own agricultural policies, yet many of the promised advantages have not come to fruition. This is primarily because industrial countries continue to successfully avoid reducing their massive agricultural subsidies in any substantial way. These enable them to sell their surplus products on the global market at dumping prices – to the detriment of the South.

Public Eye is calling for a fundamental re-orientation of the rules governing global agricultural trade. The rules need to give individual states the urgently needed policy space and particularly should revolve around the internationally recognised right to food and importance of small-scale farming in the South.