A multi-billion-dollar opportunity: repurposing agricultural support to transform food systems

  • 14/09/2021
  • FAO

Global support to producers in the agricultural sector amounts to $540 billion per year, making up 15 percent of total agricultural production value. By 2030, this is projected to soar up more than three times to $1.759 trillion. Yet 87 percent of this support, approximately $470 billion, is price distorting and environmentally and socially harmful. These are findings of a new United Nations report calling for repurposing damaging incentives to achieve more of the 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, launched by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) finds that current support to producers 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. These are inefficient, distort food prices, hurt people's health, degrade the environment, and are often inequitable, putting big agri-business ahead of smallholder farmers, a large share of whom are women.