Deborah James, Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network
Most agricultural production in Asia, the Middle East, and African countries is undertaken by small farmers working a few hectares or less, and the vast majority of the work is done by women on family farms. A 21st century approach to trade in agriculture recognizes the current context of climate change, global commitments to the eradication of hunger through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ways that smallholders and women farmers' empowerment must be supported by domestic resource mobilization and investment in promoting sustainable agricultural practices. Yet, the current WTO rules were drafted 20 years ago with the narrow goal of increasing trade in agricultural products and have failed to adjust to the current dynamics and evolved global consensus. Fortunately, WTO Members set a deadline of December 2017 to adjust these rules to allow developing countries to invest in domestic production for food security through public stockholding programmes, and the Nairobi Ministerial set forth negotiations a Special Safeguard mechanism to promote food security, rural development and farmers' livelihood.