Current agricultural support policies are destroying nature, affecting people’s health, and worsening the climate crisis, according to a new report. The same report argues that the money would be well spent in other areas, improving the world’s food systems and the environment.
Food producers receive $540 billion from governments every year to support their activities, according to a United Nations report. Almost 90% of those subsidies are “price distorting and environmentally and socially harmful,” with beef and milk, the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, receiving most of the funding.
“This report is a wake-up call for governments around the world to rethink agricultural support schemes to make them fit for purpose to transform our agri-food systems and contribute to the four betters: better nutrition, better production, better environment and a better life,” Qu Dongyu, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said in a statement.
Previous studies have warned about the many challenges faced by the global food system, with millions experiencing chronic hunger while others are obese and overweight. Meanwhile, a third of the food produced every year is wasted, which amounts to more than one billion tons. The system is essentially broken, the researchers explain.