South Asia - Food and Agricultural Trade in the New Policy Environment: How Can WTO members Support Economic Recovery and Resilience?

December 17, 2020 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm IST

(Open to public)


Trade in food and farm goods has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, imperilling efforts to make progress on tackling hunger and malnutrition according to the framework set out under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the same time, the farm sector is under increasing pressure to respond to new environmental challenges, and especially those associated with climate change. With the World Trade Organization’s next Ministerial Conference postponed due to the pandemic, both the substance and process of talks in Geneva on updating the global trade rulebook have been affected, amid ongoing tensions between major economies. As governments revisit their priorities in this new context, it is important that they engage with different constituencies in their regions and beyond to ensure that negotiating strategies reflect an inclusive vision of public policy goals—one that can contribute to economic recovery and improve resilience to future food system shocks.

With South Asia home to millions of small farmers, and food insecurity a persistent challenge in both rural and urban areas, policies affecting markets for food and agriculture remain highly controversial. While economic growth has contributed to rising average incomes and evolving patterns of demand across the region, extreme weather events associated with climate change represent an increasing challenge to the food and agriculture sector, along with increasing water scarcity. Designing national policies to address these challenges not only requires governments to navigate the impact of new measures on different domestic constituency groups, but also on producers and consumers elsewhere in South Asia and beyond. Meanwhile, with major economies around the world increasingly pursuing their trade policy goals through bilateral and regional deals, countries in the region have faced new challenges in advancing their objectives in this area at the multilateral level. 

This was the fourth of a series of events on the same topic but with a regional perspective. The events covered Africa, South Asia and Latin America. 

Date: December, 17, 2020 Time: 06:00 a.m.to 07:15 a.m. EST


  • Ms. Aisha Moriani, Joint Secretary WTO, Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan 
  • Prof. Abhijit Das, Head, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), India
  • Amb. Gothami Silva, Sri Lanka Mission to the WTO 
  • Dr Fahmida Khatun, Centrefor Policy DIalogue, Bangladesh
  • Ajay Vir Jakhar, Bharat Krishak Samaj