A Multi-Billion-Dollar Opportunity- Repurposing agricultural support to transform food systems

As this report demonstrates, the way governments around the world support agriculture is a factor in the global and environmental challenges that agri-food systems are facing. Current support to agricultural producers worldwide works against the attainment of the SDGs, the targets of the Paris Agreement and our common future. This support is biased towards measures that are harmful and unsustainable for nature, climate, nutrition and health, while disadvantaging women and other smallholder farmers in the sector. At a time when many countries’ public finances are constrained, particularly in the developing world, global agricultural support to producers currently accounts for almost USD 540 billion a year. Over two-thirds of this support is considered price-distorting and largely harmful to the environment.

This report highlights how coherent policymaking for agriculture can result in significant benefits for the sector, the environment and human health. By providing evidence on the potential positive impacts of eliminating harmful agricultural support, it makes a convincing case for repurposing such support – rather than eliminating it altogether. The report presents six steps that governments can consider to develop and implement agricultural support repurposing strategies, while also recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and that an optimal repurposing strategy will depend on many factors and on country context.