Agricultural support: How to get incentives right for people, economies, and the planet
BY JOHANN SWINNEN AND MARTIEN VAN NIEUWKOOP
Totaling more than $639 billion per year, public policies and support to agriculture create powerful incentives influencing which crops we grow, the diets we consume, and the impact these decisions have on the environment. Currently, however, the structure of this support contributes to many of the hidden costs our food systems generate. Agriculture, land use change, and the broader food system produce an estimated 34% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are one of the greatest contributors to biodiversity loss and the degradation of natural resources, while also increasing zoonotic risks and along with this the likelihood of future pandemics. At the same time, food systems fail to deliver affordable, nutrient-adequate diets for all and livable incomes for millions of farmers and food sector workers.
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