1% of world GDP goes to “harmful” subsidies for agriculture, fisheries and forestry: report

  • Governments collectively spend at least $ 1.8 trillion – equivalent to 2% of world GDP – annually on subsidies that “drive ecosystem destruction and species extinction,” according to new report from nonprofits Team B and Business for nature.
  • Every year, agriculture receives $ 520 billion in “environmentally harmful subsidies,” second only to $ 640 billion in the fossil fuel industry. Forestry earns $ 155 billion and fisheries $ 50 billion.
  • These subsidies – two-thirds of which have According to another study, “no responsibilities”. – contribute to soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss, the report said.
  • The researchers based their figures on a previous report from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, UN Development Programand UN Environment ProgramIt is estimated that 87% of agricultural subsidies – worth $ 470 billion – “distort prices or harm nature and health.”

Why it matters:

Many farms around the world rely on subsidies – and the government is committed to paying them, given the strategic importance of the industries they tend to focus on.

However, the report argues that handouts can “create serious risks” for businesses and investors, “distorting investment schemes and cost structures in the industry, masking operational risks or accident risks and creating competitive barriers.”

There are signs that subsidies are becoming more sustainable: U.S. Department of AgricultureFor example, recently committed $ 1 billion to “climate-smart” agricultural projects – while directing resources to urban agriculture and meat growing.

A recent report from World Bank and Institute of International Food Policy advocated the “redesign” of agricultural subsidies to “climate-friendly innovations that simultaneously increase agricultural productivity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” 1% of world GDP goes to “harmful” subsidies for agriculture, fisheries and forestry: report

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