This joint FAO-UNDP-UNEP report calls for governments to rethink the way agriculture is subsidized and supported. The majority (87%) of $540 billion of support to agricultural producers is either price distorting or harmful to nature and health. Repurposing this support can help transform food systems and achieve the SDGs.

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Optimizing support for the agricultural sector will benefit our planet

This report, launched by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) finds that 87% of current support to agricultural producers, approximately USD 540 billion per year, include measures that are often inefficient, inequitable, distort food prices, hurt people’s health, and degrade the environment.

Under a continuation of current trends, this support could reach USD 1.8 trillion by 2030. There is therefore a clear need for action at country, regional and global levels to phase out the most distortive, environmentally and socially harmful support, such as price incentives and coupled subsides, and redirecting it towards investments in public goods and services for agriculture, such as research and development and infrastructure, as well as decoupled fiscal subsidies.

By providing evidence on the potential positive impacts of eliminating negative agricultural support, this report makes a convincing case for repurposing such support – rather than eliminating it altogether. Finally, the report presents six steps that governments can consider to develop and implement agricultural support repurposing strategies.

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