Agricultural policies and support

Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2011: OECD Countries and Emerging Economies


Government support to agriculture in OECD countries fell to 18% of total farm receipts in 2010, a record low linked to high commodity prices, according to this report.

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Support to producers stood at $227 billion (EUR 172 billion) in OECD countries in 2010. Most government support is still given in ways that distort production and trade while doing relatively little to improve productivity and competitiveness, ensure sustainable resource use or help farmers cope with risk.

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 Consult all the data from this report at the OECD Producer Support Estimates (PSE) web page

 Key facts

  • New Zealand has the lowest level of government support to agriculture in the OECD, at just 1% of farm income. Australia (3%), Chile (4%) and the United States (9%) are also well below the OECD average.

  • The European Union has reduced its level of support to 22% of farm income, but remains above the OECD average.

  • Support to farmers remains relatively high in Korea (47%), Iceland (48%), Japan (49%), Switzerland (56%) and Norway (60%).

  • Brazil, South Africa and Ukraine generally support agriculture at levels well below the OECD average, while support in China is approaching the OECD average. In Russia, farm support now exceeds the OECD average.

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 Recommendations of this report

  • Greater global food demand, higher prices, more volatile markets and increasing resource pressures are arguments for moving beyond “status quo” policies. Countries should focus on improving farm productivity, sustainability and long-term competitiveness, rather than policies that distort markets. Farm policy should also offer greater support to research, innovation and education.

  • With volatility expected to remain high and growing concerns about climate change, farmers will need comprehensive risk management systems that best address their specific needs. Governments should support the development of market-based tools while steering clear of actions that interfere with farmers’ management of normal business risk.

  • While high farm prices create opportunities for farmers, high and volatile food prices have particularly severe impacts on the poorest people on the planet, who spend a large proportion of their available income on food. For this group of consumers, improved safety nets can help with immediate needs, but policies that improve agricultural productivity and long-term resilience will provide the long-term solution. To this end, the OECD recognises the importance of ongoing efforts in the G20 and in other international fora to improve policy coherence and strengthen global governance of the food system.

 Country summaries

OECD economies







New Zealand

United States





European Union




Other economies








China P.R.


South Africa


Access the full report

Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2011:
OECD Countries and Emerging Economies
This report provides up-to-date estimates of support to agriculture and is complemented by individual chapters on agricultural policy developments in all countries covered in the report. Support is calculated using OECD Producer Support Estimates (PSE).

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» Consult the data from this report including the OECD Producer Support Estimate (PSE)


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