Governments should renew efforts to reform support to agriculture

Agriculture 2019

(Joao Marcelo Marques, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with OECD.


Governments worldwide provide more than USD 500 billion in often ineffective and trade distorting support to farmers each year, and efforts to reform these policies have largely stalled, according to a new OECD report.

Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2019 shows that farm policies in the 53 countries studied in the report – all OECD and EU countries, plus 12 key emerging economies – provided on average USD 528 billion (EUR 465 billion) per-year of direct support to farmers during the 2016-18 period. At the same time, countries that implicitly taxed farmers through artificially depressed prices reduced farm revenues by USD 83 billion (EUR 73 billion) per-year.

The OECD finds that little progress has been seen this decade in reforming agricultural support policies. Many agricultural policies continue to distort farm production and trade decisions and do not effectively target stated government objectives.

The report shows that 54% of support is provided through policies that artificially maintain domestic farm prices above international levels. This type of support harms consumers – especially poor consumers – while increasing the income gap between small and large farms and reducing the competitiveness of the food industry.

Relatively little of the current policy mix in most countries targets agricultural productivity growth and the sustainable use of land, water and biodiversity resources. The report also highlights large variations in support for different commodities, both within and across countries. This can result in significant price support for some products, while others are artificially depressed, and contributes to distortions in international markets.

“Governments can support farm households and rural communities without negative effects on global markets,” said OECD Director for Trade and Agriculture Ken Ash. “By removing the link between support and farm production decisions, and investing instead in needed public services, governments can build an enabling environment in which farmers have the freedom to make business decisions in response to evolving market opportunities at home and abroad. At the same time farm policy should be better targeted, improving access to technologies that will drive both productivity growth and sustainable resource use,” Mr Ash said.

The annual Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation report provides up-to-date estimates of government support to agriculture for all OECD and the European Union as a whole, plus key emerging economies. The 2019 edition includes Brazil, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Ukraine, Viet Nam, and for the first time, both India and Argentina.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

European financial values on the rise

How 2020 taught businesses to place empathy before profit

Coronavirus: Commission receives first preliminary application for support from the EU Solidarity Fund for health emergency from Italy

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

Fossil fuel support is rising again in a threat to climate change efforts

The succesful cooperation

Getting vaccinated should just be considered a human right?

Reinforcing EU border security: Visa-exempt travelers will be pre-screened

4 ways the US can take the lead in the fight against human trafficking

5 key lessons for energy transition from COVID-19 recovery

In visit to hurricane-ravaged Bahamas, UN chief calls for greater action to address climate change

A ‘strong and united Europe’ has never been more needed, declares UN chief Guterres

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

How digital can transform healthcare in Asia for millions of people

Ambassador Zhang wishes from Brussels great success and prosperity for the China-EU relations in the Year of the Dog

These are the breakthroughs we need to achieve a net-zero world

Suriname’s climate promise, for a sustainable future

In South Sudan, mothers teaching daughters ‘safer’ ways to survive rape

Closing the gaps in accelerating women’s rights : the role of medical students.

Why Africa must be ready to take the quantum leap

World Cancer Day: Here’s how perceptions about the disease differ around the world

Mobile technology facilitating social distance in the middle of a pandemic

Digital tokens could transform the economies of the Middle East and North Africa – if the governance keeps up

New York and London mayors call on cities to divest from fossil fuels

Spread of polio still an international public health concern

Fighting Terrorism Online: EU Internet Forum committed to an EU-wide Crisis Protocol

Four ways we can fix economics in 2019

The EU and Japan trade deal celebrates second anniversary by further strengthening ties

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will impact young people’s future the most

The EU patent space and Unified Court are born

Europe is now practically divided as in the Cold War

“Will TTIP solve the massive EU-US unemployment? Absolutely not!” A revealing Sting Exclusive with Tim Bennett from the Transatlantic Business Council

How close is Eurozone to a new recession which may trigger formidable developments?

This project wants to bring broadband – and hope – to rural India

EU elections 2019: Rise of nationalist trends and populism in Europe challenges the EU edifice

5 shocking facts about inequality, according to Oxfam’s latest report

UN chief pays tribute to Egypt’s role in avoiding ‘dramatic’ escalation in conflict across the Gaza-Israel border

What’s needed now to fight COVID-19 – Updates from today’s WHO briefing

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Three ways the world must tackle mental health

Q&A: EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI)

EU is right place to tackle pandemic, but reform is needed, latest survey finds

Great Reset: Why LGBT+ inclusion is the secret to cities’ post-pandemic success

Parliament wants to suspend EU accession negotiations with Turkey

Detecting online child sexual abuse requires strong safeguards

The Schengen area is at a crossroads

State aid: Commission approves €3.2 billion public support by seven Member States for a pan-European research and innovation project in all segments of the battery value chain

How will Brexit affect higher education in the EU?

MWC 2016 LIVE: EC adds Brazil to partner tally

Vegetarianism is good for the economy too

Are we letting politicians play with migrants’ health?

Looking for European Youth at 2021 Youth Day “European Youth in China”: Short Video Contest Announcement

Digitalization is changing banking – These 3 trends will help shape its future

European Super League: Why more football is an imperfect solution to sport’s business model problem

Google has invented a tool which allows you to hear colour

The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

Challenges surrounding COVID-19 vaccination in Japan: Fraught history and current vaccine hesitancy

Coronavirus: EU funding for the transport of medical goods, medical teams and patients

We have to learn to trust Artificial Intelligence. Here’s how

Call to revitalize ‘language of the ancestors’ for survival of future generations: Indigenous chief

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s