UN report calls for reform of agricultural aid

New York / Rome (dpa) – 811 Millions of people were 2020 malnourished – at the same time almost 400 Billions of euros wrongly spent in aid to agriculture every year. With this alarming analysis, the United Nations is calling on all states to fundamentally rethink their agricultural subsidies.

Qu Dongyu, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, spoke of a “wake-up call for the governments of the world” the UN (FAO).

According to the study presented on Tuesday, 87 percent of global agricultural aid distort competition and harm the environment or small businesses . 470 billion US dollars (just under 400 billion euros) of the total annually flowing 540 billion dollars ( 457 billion euros) would have to be used differently in order to be sustainable and fair, calculates the UN report. It was commissioned by the FAO, the Development Program (UNDP) and the Environment Program (UNEP) of the United Nations.

Redistribution of funds

The aim of the researchers is a radical redistribution of funds in agriculture. The current measures are not only in need of improvement, “they even hold us back,” said Achim Steiner, the head of UNDP. “This report has to open our eyes.”

According to the study, the current aid is mostly distributed through tariffs or subsidies that are linked to the manufacture and cultivation of certain goods. This is inefficient, falsifies prices, is harmful to health, destroys the environment and leads to inequality of opportunity, it said. Large agricultural corporations are preferred to small businesses, in which many women work.

The aid is “extremely unbalanced,” says the report. And if it is not fundamentally reformed, it will also be extremely expensive in the next few years: under the current circumstances, agriculture will devour almost 1.8 trillion US dollars in financial aid per year 2030, the scientists calculated .

Contributor to and victim of climate change

It is not just about nutrition. Agriculture is one of the main causes of climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases, for example through manure in the fields, rice cultivation or the burning of grain waste. At the same time, however, it was farmers and agricultural producers who suffered most from the consequences of the crisis – for example from extreme heat, droughts or floods reach. Wealthy countries should reform their support for the meat and dairy industries, poorer countries should change their financial aid for toxic pesticides and fertilizers as well as for the cultivation of monocultures.

UNEP leader Inger Andersen admonished the states to seize the opportunity “to make agriculture a key driver of human well-being and a solution to the threats posed by climate change, natural loss and pollution”.

Some countries have already started to reform their aid to agriculture. “But it needs more extensive, bolder and faster measures, and that worldwide,” says the report. The hope is now, starting with a «Food Systems Summit» as part of the UN General Assembly on 23. September to convince the governments of the world to take up the problem.

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