Government support to agriculture is increasing


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Total support to the agricultural sector reached USD 817 billion per year in 2019-21 for the 54 countries covered by the report, a 13% increase over the USD 720 billion reported for 2018-20. Of this total, USD 500 billion per year was paid from public budgets, with the rest being transferred through higher prices (market price support). Individual producers received USD 611 billion per year in positive support in 2019-21, representing 17% of gross farm receipts in OECD countries and 13% in the 11 emerging economies.
This increase is partly driven by factors that may prove to be temporary, including support to both consumers and producers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and increases in market price support related to rebuilding herds following African Swine Fever.

Breakdown of agricultural support
Total of all 54 countries, 2019-21

Source: OECD (2022), Agriculture Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2022.

At USD 817 billion per year in 2019-21, total support has increased 2.4-fold from 2000-02 in nominal terms, which compares to a 3.3-fold growth in the value of agricultural production.

This total is concentrated in a few large economies. Among OECD countries, support has remained substantial, averaging USD 346 billion per year over 2019-21. The European Union and the United States, both large agricultural producers, jointly account for two thirds of this total. Agricultural policy reforms in OECD countries have stalled in the past decade, and in some cases, have even been rolled back. At the same time, support in the 11 emerging economies covered in this report has increased significantly, reaching USD 464 billion per year in 2019-21, with China alone accounting for about 60% of this total.

In a small number of countries, policies also suppress prices for some or all commodities, generating a transfer of USD 117 billion away from agricultural producers.

Evolution of total support to agriculture in OECD and 11 emerging economies

Source: OECD (2022), Agriculture Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2022.                                                                                

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in expenditures for the sector to keep food supply chains functioning, help producers cope with disruptions and provide additional food aid to poor consumers.

In 2020 and 2021, governments spent an extra USD 55 billion and USD 70 billion, respectively, representing 10% and 13% of all budgetary support in these years. This estimate is likely a lower bound of actual extra expenditures, as it includes only support for which the link to the pandemic could be clearly identified.

Distribution of estimated agricultural support in response to COVID-19
By support category, 2020 and 2021

Source: OECD (2022), Agriculture Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2022.

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