Agriculture and fisheries

Agricultural sustainability



The impact of agricultural policies on the sustainable use of natural resources is of growing national and international concern, but governments are often uncertain as to the most effective set of policies to use.


Agriculture and the environment

Many farm policies put pressure on water and soil resources. The wide range of agri-environmental measures being put in place by governments to address concerns about sustainability often simply offset pressures from other agricultural policies. In particular, there is increasing uncertainty about policies designed to help alleviate and to respond to the effects of climate change.


Many governments also want to ensure that agriculture activities contribute to the provision of environmental goods and services. Governments, both in developed and developing countries, recognise that maintaining the productive capacity and effective use of natural resources is essential if future demand for food and non-food products is to be satisfied.


Agriculture and water

With demand for water increasing from agriculture, industry and from households, governments are increasingly giving a higher priority to water resource and environmental management. However, there is still inconsistency between this priority and sets of agricultural policies, resulting in conflicting incentives to farmers. This situation aggravates water overuse and pollution.


What OECD does

OECD analysis increasingly confronts key policy issues and aims to clarify the required policy directions to achieve sustainable resource use. Our work tracks the environmental performance of agriculture across OECD countries through its agri-environmental indicator database, policy inventory and modelling efforts,

and analysis of policy measures and market approaches addressing environmental quality.



Farmers should go green

Climate change means that farmers must use water more efficiently, explains OECD agricultural policy analyst Kevin Parris.

See our latest work on:

 Agri-environmental indicators and policies

 Environmental performance of agriculture in OECD countries since 1990

 Research programme on biological resources in agriculture


Related OECD work:


 Climate change

 OECD work on green growth


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