Agricultural policies and support

Policy Responses to Societal Concerns in Food and Agriculture: Proceedings of an OECD Workshop


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Fair trade, animal welfare, biodiversity, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - these are examples of issues where people have concerns relating to food and agriculture.

These issues are complex and controversial, often with uncertainty and confusion over scientific evidence and possible impacts. Advocacy groups, lobbies and the media engage in public debate that involves differing interests, ethical views and desired outcomes. In this context, policy makers can find it difficult to address these concerns and solve these issues.

In order to share experiences and discuss ways of dealing with these problems, OECD brought together economists, legal experts, environmentalists, public policy specialists, ethicists and scientists for a workshop in November 2009. This book presents the papers from the workshop.

The first half of the book features papers on general, cross-cutting issues such as public policy, the precautionary principle, trade liberalisation and the legal perspective. The second half consists of case studies on four themes - animal welfare, GMOs, biodiversity and fair trade.

This book is free to access and download, either as a full publication or by individual papers.

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Individual papers:

For more information on this publication, please write to the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate at


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