CAFOD joined 28 global networks yesterday in attacking what they describe as fake concessions to development, stating that a true development round was one which allowed poor countries to protect their vital crops. People from Kenya to the Philippines, the UK and Ireland banded together at the World Trade Organisation Ministerial in Hong Kong to support the G33 group of developing countries in their bid to secure a deal on their Special Products (SP) and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) proposals. These schemes would allow countries to protect those crops that are vital for livelihood security, food security and rural development from cheap, often subsidized imports. CAFOD partner Eluid Ngunjira from the Rodi organisation in Kenya said: "We call on the G33 countries to stand firm in our common fight to protect our poorest farmers and the crops upon which millions of us in the south rely for a living and to eat. "We deplore any attempt to use Aid for Trade or other fake concessions as Trojan horses in the so-called development package being offered. In Kenya, cheap imports are crowding out rural farmers from their own market, deepening poverty and increasing food insecurity. I hear from my friends here that the situation is the same for them. The Special Products proposal is long overdue. Without this protection I cannot imagine how much worse life for our farmers will become." Jessica Reyes-Cantos from Rice Watch and Action Network in the Philippines said: "The solidarity between people from around the world in supporting the proposal is encouraging. But SP and SSM should not be the be all and end all of a development package and they must also not be used as concessions in other negotiating areas, such as services and access to non-agricultural markets. "If anything, they are partial, compensatory mechanisms to address the basic inequalities we see in world trade rules that have had such devastating consequences for our small-scale farmers, fisherfolk and rural women."
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