Originally published by The Guardian by

Environment editor


Almost 90% of the $540bn in global subsidies given to farmers every year are “harmful”, a startling UN report has found.

This agricultural support damages people’s health, fuels the climate crisis, destroys nature and drives inequality by excluding smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, according to the UN agencies.

The biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, such as beef and milk, received the biggest subsidies, the report said. These are often produced by large industrialised groups that are best placed to gain access to subsidies.

Without reform, the level of subsidies was on track to soar to $1.8tn (£1.3tn) a year by 2030, further harming human wellbeing and worsening the planetary crisis, the UN said.

Support for the “outsized” meat and dairy industry in rich countries must be reduced, while subsidies for polluting chemical fertilisers and pesticides must fall in lower-income countries, the analysis said.

The report, published before a UN food systems summit on 23 September, said repurposing the subsidies to beneficial activities could “be a game changer” and help to end poverty, eradicate hunger, improve nutrition, reduce global heating and restore nature. Good uses of public money could include supporting healthy food, such as vegetables and fruit, improving the environment and supporting small farmers.


Read the rest here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/14/global-farm-subsidies-damage-people-planet-un-climate-crisis-nature-inequality