The agricultural agreement has hurt Kenya`s smallholder farmers, who produce 75 percent of the country`s agricultural production, by encouraging imports that have lowered prices. Kenya has opted for tied tariffs, but only applies a fraction of what it can apply under the AoA because it fears retaliation if it increases these tariffs. Although the bound customs duties are 100%, in practice the average tariff is less than 20%. The shift to export orientation has tended to bring uneven benefits both within and between countries. The AoA has not provided TDPs like Chad and Mali with better access to export markets. At the same time, the export competitiveness of LDCs is subsidized by the very different capacities of national governments, subsidized, as well as by differences in productivity between least developed and developed countries (in terms of factors such as infrastructure, climate vulnerability, credit supply and access to technology). Export-oriented agriculture also raises concerns about long-term productivity, as production techniques tend to be more chemically intense and therefore tend to degrade soils over time. Even irrigation systems – if they come from extractable groundwater levels, for example – can have a short lifespan. Another important issue related to an increased export orientation is the impact of such a change on food security. In the case of countries that are highly food insecure, such as Chad, it may be safer to increase cereal productivity before increasing the area under cultivation with export crops. In low-income countries, agriculture employs more than 70 per cent of the population, in middle-income countries 30 per cent and in high-income countries only 4 per cent.
Between 1990 and 1996, agriculture accounted for 34 per cent of GDP in low-income countries, 8 per cent in middle-income countries and 1.5 per cent in high-income countries. Agriculture provides least developed countries (NTPs) with 34 per cent of their exports, compared with 8.3 per cent for developed countries. The GATT 1947 originally applied to agriculture, but it was incomplete, and the signatory States (or “Contracting Parties”) excluded this sector from the scope of the principles set out in the General Agreement. During the period 1947-1994, Members were allowed to apply for export subsidies for primary agricultural products and to impose import restrictions under certain conditions, so that major agricultural raw materials face trade barriers to an unusual extent in other product sectors. .