One-third of the food consumed in Brazil has irregular residues of pesticides

India and other developing countries have succeeded in ensuring that there will be no discussion on agriculture in the ongoing climate change negotiations in Warsaw, a development that could well prove a pyrrhic victory.

Discussion on ways to deal with the impact of climate change on agriculture, such as variations in rainfall and temperature, has now been pushed for talks scheduled for mid-2014. The discussions, which will be taken up by the United Nations' climate changes technical committee, will focus on adapting to climate change and emission reduction that such measures are likely to entail.

India, China and several other developing countries are of the view that postponing the discussion on agriculture has effectively stymied efforts by industrialised countries, particularly the European Union and New Zealand, to focus on emission reduction in agriculture.

Analysts are, however, concerned that this latest move by the developing countries could prove counterproductive. For now, the group of developing countries, G-77 and China, are unified in their approach to agriculture and climate change. However, there are concerns that delaying the discussions could weaken the alliance.

In the past, not all developing countries have agreed with the view that the focus on agriculture should be limited to adapting to the impacts of climate change. At the Doha round of negotiations in December last year, least developed countries such as Bangladesh and Malawi supported the idea of discussing the impact of agriculture on climate change, which would include emission reduction measures.

The differences that came to the fore at the Doha round of negotiations last year were bridged at the Bonn talks earlier this year. This happened as India and other developing countries agreed to expand the ambit of discussions to include emission reduction benefits that could accrue from adapting to climate change. Experts say India and other developing countries have already managed to limit the ambit of the discussion on agriculture at Doha and Bonn. So refusing to take forward the talks at Warsaw is unlikely to prove beneficial. Instead, it is feared that delaying the talks could reopen differences within developing countries.

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