Most agricultural funding harms environment: UN
Published : Monday, 20 September, 2021 at 12:00 AM Count : 304
Around 87 percent of the US$540 billion in total annual government support given worldwide to agricultural producers is harming environment.
This is the main finding of a new UN report calling for repurposing these incentives to achieve 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and realize the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.
The report, 'a multi-billion-dollar opportunity: Repurposing agricultural
support to transform food systems' was launched on Tuesday by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Global support to producers in the form of subsidies and other incentives makes up 15 percent of total agricultural production value.
By 2030, this is projected to more than triple to $1.759 trillion. The OECD defines agricultural support as the annual monetary value of gross transfers to agriculture from consumers and taxpayers arising from government policies.
Current support mostly consists of price incentives, such as import tariffs and export subsidies, as well as fiscal subsidies which are tied to the production of a specific commodity or input.
Last year, up to 811 million people worldwide faced chronic hunger and nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have year-round access to adequate food.
In 2019, around three billion people, in every region of the world, could not afford a healthy diet.
The reports note that even though most agricultural support today has negative effects around $110 billion supports infrastructure, research and development, and benefits the general food and agriculture sector.
It argues that changing agricultural producer support, rather than eliminating it, will help end poverty, eradicate hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture, foster sustainable consumption and production, mitigate the climate crisis, restore nature, limit pollution, and reduce inequalities.