NewZNew (Chandigarh) : The three-day meet on agriculture of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) concluded at Chandigarh today recommending all participating countries to ensure equitable price for agriculture produce and for continuance of Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime for both staple and other crops. The meet also recommended subsidies on agriculture power, diesel, machinery, agriculture implements to increase accessibility by small holder farmers besides involving private sector in this. The committee also recommended that international trade polices should be framed in a way to protect the interest of developing counties and subsidies by developed countries required rationalisation.

In a concluding resolution adopted on the last day of the conference, in which delegates from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and observers from Tanzania and Uganda unanimously resolved to work for effective and strong agricultural lobbying in all legislative bodies to safeguard the interest of farmers and to influence the budgetary allocations for the agriculture sector.

The meet recommended that each country must have a broad based committee on agriculture having representation of all political parties with powers to allocate funds for agriculture sector. The resolution stressed upon the need to develop linkages of agriculture sector with universities, researchers, scientists, donors, civil society groups, private sector, decision makers at country as well as international level.

The delegates resolved that time has come that elected representatives would have to assert themselves for introducing pro-agriculture laws and protect the interest of farmers, especially women working in the agriculture sector. The meet also decided to review outdated, inefficient conflicting policies and gave a call to effectively implement inheritance laws for women.

Seeking more budget for agriculture sector and ensuring its optimum utilisation were the key issues that were deliberated in detail in the meet and it was decided that CPA plays an effective role in ensuring sufficient funds for agriculture sector and actively monitor related expenditure. It was also decided to ensure independent audit of government spending on agriculture sector.

Advocating protection network for small and marginal farmers, the meet said that the participating countries should frame and implement pro-small farmer policies and integrate them in the institutional system. Showing concern over rising toxicity of soils, misuse of pesticides, crop loss due to wild animals, the meet asked participating countries to take effective steps to protect the interest of farmers. The meet recommended availability of quality seeds, fertilisers at affordable price.

Giving a call to policy makers to play a significant role on formation of policies on farm sector, the meet felt that all countries would have to share knowledge, data and technical inputs on sensitive issues like climate change, environment and gender.

Emphasizing on ensuring good credit facilities to farmers, the meet recommended involving private sector in this. The meet expressed satisfaction that workshop was able to bring together leaders of parliamentary agriculture committees and could realise their potential that would be helpful in increasing the productivity and ensuring food security in Asia, India and South East Asia region through its valuable recommendations.