More than 50 countries, including the US and China together, spent annually about USD 585 billion on farmers in the last three years and most of it was market price support, a latest report said today.
For OECD countries as a whole, farm support has roughly halved in intensity over the past 30 years and now amounts to 17 per cent of gross farm receipts, it said.
“Together, the countries covered in this report provided an annual average of USD 585 billion of support to their agricultural producers directly in 2013-15, and an additional USD 87 billion on general services supporting the sector,” said Paris-based think-tank OECD in its report ‘Agriculture Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2016’.
On average, for the 50 countries covered, 68 per cent of support to farmers was provided in the form of market price support and payments based on output or on input use without constraints, it said.
It also cautioned that these steps distort production decisions and can significantly alter markets and trade.
The report further said, “Relatively little of the support provided addresses directly the recognised opportunities and challenges that confront the sector.”
The report covered OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries and a range of emerging economies that account for the majority of global agricultural value added.
As per the report, the average support levels in the emerging economies have increased from very low or even negative levels to approach the average level of OECD countries.
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Ukraine, the United States, and Vietnam have support levels below – in some cases well below – the OECD average.
The farm support levels in the European Union (as a whole), the Russian Federation and Turkey are roughly at that average while China is just slightly higher. The support levels in Indonesia are much higher, but still well below the highest levels of support provided by Iceland, Japan, Korea, Norway and Switzerland, the report added.
OECD recommended that countries should put in more efforts in refocusing agricultural policies to address long-term needs for improving productivity and sustainability performance of agriculture to help it face multiple challenges ahead.
It also suggested that governments need to implement more ambitious policies to address the global challenges facing agriculture, notably a shift away from direct support to farmers towards greater assistance for innovation systems that will improve productivity and sustainability.
India is one of the many non-member economies with which OECD has working relationships, in addition to its member countries.