Every year around USD 540 billion are given as subsidies to farmers across the world, almost 90% are harmful to both nature and health as a recent report published by the United Nations.
The UN Environment Program (UNEP) denotes that agriculture is probably one if not the main contributors to the current climate change, through greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), they also suggest that repurposing agricultural subsidies will ‘benefit our planet’.
Repurposing agricultural support to transform food systems is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity and asks the policymakers to rethink the whole subsidies system. The report was launched in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The findings show that we have global subsidies that are often both ‘inefficient’ and ‘inequitable’. And that these current practices can negatively affect human health and slowly destroy the environment.
Currently, emissions-intensive products such as beef, dairy, and industrial agriculture receive the most subsidies support worldwide.
As a result, the report calls for politicians and policymakers to react by incentivizing farmers to migrate towards producing ‘more nutritious foods.
The report says that “There is a clear need for action at country, regional, and global levels to phase out the more distortive, environmentally and socially harmful support”.
The FAO also called for this action to be bigger, bolder, and faster as part of a more collaborative approach so by this way may be creating a better future intending to end poverty, reduce the climate crisis, and restoring natural health.
FAO Director-General, Qu Dongyu said the report is a ‘wake-up call’ for governments. And, that it provides an opportunity to transform the food system to create a better environment for all.
UNEP executive director Inger Andersen added that now is the time for governments to have a chance and ensure agriculture becomes a ‘major driver of human well-being, it’s the time to improve livelihoods, cut emissions, protect and restore ecosystems, and reduce the use of agrochemicals.
Read about the report here