OECD food systems resources

Explore recent OECD food systems-related reports, working papers and policy briefs.

Key food systems resources

Making Better Policies for Food Systems

Towards Sustainable Land Use

Towards Sustainable Land Use

Rural Well-Being: Geography of Opportunities

Rural Well-Being: Geography of Opportunities

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05/07/2021
The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030 is a collaborative effort of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, prepared with input from Member governments and international commodity organisations. It provides a consensus assessment of the ten-year prospects for agricultural commodity, fish and biofuel markets at national, regional and global levels, and serves as a reference for forward-looking policy analysis and planning.The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030 presents the trends driving food and agricultural markets over the coming decade. While progress is expected on many important fronts, in order to realize the 2030 Agenda and achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), concerted actions and additional improvements will be needed by the agricultural sector.More information can be found at www.agri-outlook.org.
22/06/2021
This annual report monitors and evaluates agricultural policies in 54 countries, including the 38 OECD countries, the five non-OECD EU Member States, and 11 emerging economies. The report includes country specific analysis based on up-to-date estimates of support to agriculture that are compiled using a comprehensive system of measurement and classification – the Producer and Consumer Support Estimates (PSE and CSE) and related indicators. This year’s report focuses on policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and analyses the implications of agricultural support policies for the performance of food systems.
19/04/2021
This report proposes a taxonomy of policy design features for agri-environmental payment schemes, with a focus on those features that are conducive to policy cost-effectiveness. An application of the taxonomy to all agri-environmental payment schemes in six countries (Argentina, Australia, Estonia, Finland, Korea, and Portugal) reveals that more than 70% of 85 agri-environmental payment schemes have some of these key design features, including establishment of baselines; rates based on estimated or actual implementation costs; inspections and penalties; contract flexibility; and technical assistance. That said, at least 80% of the schemes could be improved, including by: use of cost-effectiveness criteria for selecting recipients; moving from supporting the adoption of specific practices to focusing on achievement of environmental outcomes; more regular policy evaluations; and comprehensive collection of information on policy characteristics. An in-depth application of the taxonomy to Korea illustrates the potential of this taxonomy for country policy monitoring and evaluation purposes.
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15/04/2021
Over the past few decades, Chile has experienced rising levels of obesity and overweight, associated with severe health and economic consequences. To create a healthier food environment, Chile has put in place a comprehensive portfolio of interventions: from population-level fiscal policies, school and workplace-focused programmes, to individual interventions through primary care. Despite all the efforts, Chile continues to struggle with high costs and high morbidity related to overweight and obesity in children and adults. At the request of the Government of Chile, this OECD Assessment lays out a number of suggested policy actions based on international practices to further improve the ongoing efforts to promote healthy attitudes and behaviours, while enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of the economy.
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24/03/2021
Countries are increasingly using digital technologies within their Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) systems and the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are accelerating this evolution. While countries are increasing their use of digital tools, digital technologies still have significant potential to create efficiencies in SPS systems and enhance agro-food trade. Quantitative analysis using structural gravity model estimates show that digital technologies such as SPS electronic certificates have positive effects on trade volumes, notably for plant-based, vegetables and processed food products. Despite these gains, significant challenges remain in expanding the use of digital technologies in agro-food trade, including mixed capacities to adopt these technologies. Successful expansion of the use of digital technologies requires careful planning and long-term investments, as well as sharing expertise and building trust in these tools. Targeted financial assistance and capacity building can provide support to countries currently lacking the capabilities to adopt these tools.
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10/02/2021
In OECD countries, socio-economically disadvantaged groups tend to consume less nutritious food, leading to suboptimal health outcomes, including obesity. Contributing factors include low levels of income and education; time-poor single parent households; and the prevalence and accessibility of fast food restaurants. More broadly, food insecurity also remains a problem in OECD countries, with Indigenous Peoples being particularly vulnerable. Foodbanks run by non-governmental organisations provide emergency food assistance, sometimes using food recovered as part of food waste policies; however, the sustainability of this approach is contested. Understanding the role that socio-economic and demographic factors play in determining household food purchases and consumption is limited by inadequate and irregular food data collection, including on the prevalence of food insecurity. Lack of data is also hampering evaluation of the effectiveness of policies in addressing the needs of particular socio-economic and demographic groups.
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28/01/2021
This study uses GLOBIOM ‒ the most detailed global economic model of agriculture, land use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions ‒ to assess the effectiveness of different policies in cutting net emissions from the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector, with a view to helping limit long-term global temperature increases to 1.5°C and 2°C. Trade-offs between emission reductions and impacts on food producers, consumers and government budgets are also evaluated for each policy package. A full complement of policy options is deployed globally across AFOLU, comprising emission taxes for emitting AFOLU activities and subsidies rewarding carbon sequestration. Using a carbon price consistent with the 2°C target (1.5°C target), this is projected to mitigate 8 GtCO2 eq/yr (12 GtCO2 eq/yr) in 2050, representing 89% (129%) reduction in net AFOLU emissions, and 12% (21%) of total anthropogenic GHG emissions. Nearly two-thirds of the net emission reductions are from the Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) component of AFOLU, mostly from reduced deforestation. A global carbon tax on AFOLU is found to be twice as effective in lowering emissions as an equivalently priced emission abatement subsidy because the latter keeps high emitting producers in business. However, a tax has trade-offs in terms of lower agricultural production and food consumption, which a subsidy avoids. A shift to lower emission diets by consumers has a much smaller impact on reducing agricultural emissions than any of the policy packages involving taxes on emissions.
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UN action track
SDG
14/01/2021
Digital tools and technologies can assist governments to improve consumer health and the sustainability of food systems. These tools can be used to encourage consumers to buy healthy and nutritious foods and foods produced through sustainable farming practices, as well as to reduce asymmetries of food labelling schemes. They also contribute to more effective food data collection systems that can inform policy decisions, including by combining commercial sales information with national dietary intake survey data. Given the diverse approaches to adopting these digital tools, there is scope for cross-country learning. Current use of digital technologies by some governments ‒ from national dietary guideline websites to dedicated mobile apps ‒ can serve as references for other countries that seek to develop their own digital programmes. While these tools offer useful mechanisms for advancing policy objectives, they will need to be carefully designed to maximisetheir effectiveness and regularly evaluated to avoid excess cost and duplication.
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UN action track
SDG
11/01/2021
Food systems around the world face a triple challenge: providing food security and nutrition for a growing global population; supporting livelihoods for those working along the food supply chain; and contributing to environmental sustainability. Better policies hold tremendous promise for making progress in these domains. This report focuses on three questions. What has been the performance of food systems to date, and what role did policies play? How can policy makers design coherent policies across the triple challenge? And how can policy makers deal with frictions related to facts, interests, and values, which often complicate the task of achieving better policies? Better policies will require breaking down silos between agriculture, health, and environmental policies, and overcoming knowledge gaps, resistance from interest groups, and differing values. Robust, inclusive, evidence-based processes are thus essential to making better policies for food systems.
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UN action track
SDG
17/12/2020
The OECD seed schemes support agriculture and trade by facilitating the movement of high quality agricultural seeds across borders. The schemes harmonise certification standards and procedures for seed varietal identity and purity between participating countries.
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UN action track
SDG
10/12/2020
The OECD Review of Fisheries 2020 aims to support policy makers and sector stakeholders in their efforts to deliver sustainable and resilient fisheries that can provide jobs, food, and livelihoods for future generations. The Review updates and analyses the OECD fisheries support estimate (FSE) database, the most comprehensive, detailed, and consistent collection of country level data on governments support to fisheries. It also presents and analyses newly-assembled data on the health of fish stocks; on the management of key stocks of commercial interest; and on the governance of fisheries across OECD countries and emerging economies with large fishing sectors. The report sheds light on how governments are managing fisheries to minimise detrimental impacts on resources and ecosystems, eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, while increasing the socio-economic benefits from fishing. It suggests priorities for action both at the national level and for the international community.
keyword
UN action track
SDG
20/11/2020
Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) provisions and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) generally raise trade costs, but by providing a positive signal to consumers that enhances confidence in imported products they can also expand trade. This paper seeks to identify which specific elements of SPS and TBT measures are particularly trade enhancing. It investigates the trade cost and trade enhancing effects of SPS and TBT measures along with other types of NTMs in agricultural trade. It provides estimations on the quantity and price effects on 34 SPS and 24 TBT measures.The econometric results show that technical measures can increase import prices of agricultural products by nearly 15%, most of which comes from restriction or special authorisation for TBT or SPS reasons, such as registration requirements. Conformity assessment also tends to significantly increase the cost of trade. Trade enhancing effects are identified for labelling and packaging requirements, which are also the measures with relatively low associated trade costs
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UN action track
SDG
23/10/2020
Agricultural data and their use for better decision-making and innovation are at the core of the digital transformation of agriculture. But fragmented and unclear data governance arrangements may weaken farmers’ willingness to adopt digital solutions. This, in turn, may reduce the availability and accessibility of agricultural data for policymaking, for the agricultural innovation system, and for developing services for farmers. A key challenge for policy makers lies in finding a balance between protecting the privacy and confidentiality of agricultural data, and farmers’ economic interests in those data, while making it possible to leverage their potential for the sector’s growth and innovation. This report focuses on farmers’ concerns around access, sharing and use of agricultural data and explores whether and how existing policy frameworks and other sectoral initiatives can help to foster greater trust.
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UN action track
SDG
23/10/2020
Reform of support for fossil fuels is often identified as a priority for a country’s fiscal consolidation efforts and for climate action to align financial flows with low-carbon pathways. Its implementation, however, remains elusive for many countries as they face seemingly irreconcilable policy agendas of economic growth and sustainability coupled with potential political backlash against austerity and rising costs. This paper provides a sequential approach that may assist in providing support for the analysis to a well-informed reform process. Deploying the suggested tools can help policy makers to identify the most distorting government support measures and alternative or complementary policies that deliver the sought-after objectives more efficiently and effectively. The work presented here draws on the OECD’s longstanding experience and tradition in measuring and tracking support measures for fossil fuels, primarily in its Inventory of Support Measures for Fossil Fuels (Inventory hereafter) and accompanying reports.
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UN action track
SDG
15/10/2020
In light of the urgency for policy action to address climate change, this report provides the first detailed global catalogue of targets and policies for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector. It covers 20 countries which collectively account for nearly half of the world’s AFOLU emissions. Most of these countries have recently set targets within their AFOLU sector as part of national climate mitigation strategies and commitments, although these targets are only legally-binding for two countries. However, policies to incentivise emission reductions and achieve these targets still need to be developed. Consequently, policy efforts will need to intensify for the AFOLU sector to contribute effectively to limiting global temperature increases to well below 2°C, and especially to meet the more ambitious 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement.
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UN action track
SDG
05/10/2020
Rural Well-being: Geography of Opportunities presents the latest iteration on this policy framework, reflecting several important changes in rural development in recent years. Fully taking into account the variety of situations characterising rural regions, the new policy framework leverages improved data and analysis while broadening the scope from economic focus to encompass the environmental and social dimensions of well-being. The new approach places the well-being of citizens at the forefront of its objective and recognises the diversity of rural places brought by a deeper understanding of their diverse and complex socio-economic systems and their connection to cities. The framework also looks to the future and unfolding megatrends such as globalisation, digitalisation, climate change and demographic change. It reflects on how these will impact rural economies and reviews policy options to mitigate the challenges and capitalise on opportunities as well as to develop resilience against emerging crises. Finally, recognising the strong interdependencies between different stakeholders and the need for partnerships between government, the private sector and civil society to successfully implement policies, the Rural Well-being Policy Framework focuses on governance mechanisms, including the OECD Principles on Rural Policy.
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UN action track
SDG
21/09/2020
Early in the COVID-19 outbreak, there were concerns that the health crisis would develop into a large-scale food crisis similar to the 2007-08 food price crisis, when panic buying and counterproductive policies exacerbated initial supply disruptions. While food supply chains have seen disruptions, and there are future risks that require attention, a food price crisis has been avoided so far, in part thanks to improved transparency in global staple crop markets. Transparency on market conditions and policies is critical in helping reduce market uncertainty, exposing bottlenecks and highlighting risks, all of which help market participants and policy makers develop more effective responses in times of crisis. More broadly, transparency is essential for global markets to work and provide a resilient supply of affordable food. Yet, transparency is not automatic: it requires investments in gathering comparable information, monitoring market and policy developments, and communicating clearly about the findings. This note discusses the importance of transparency, and the investments it requires, using the example of the Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS), a G20 initiative created in response to the 2007-08 food price crisis. While AMIS focuses on major staple crops (wheat, maize, rice and soybeans), experience with AMIS can provide insights for the wider agriculture and food sector.
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UN action track
SDG
01/09/2020
This report explores how countries can strengthen the resilience of their agricultural sectors to multiple risks. A shifting risk landscape in agriculture – due to increasing weather variability, natural hazards, pests and diseases, and market shocks – will require public and private actors to consider the risk landscape over the long term, place a greater emphasis on what can be done ex ante to reduce risk exposure and increase preparedness, and prioritise investments that build resilience capacities both on-farm and for the sector as a whole. This report offers a framework for applying resilience thinking to risk management in agriculture, and explores how four OECD countries – Australia, Canada, Italy and the Netherlands – are mainstreaming resilience into their agricultural risk management policy frameworks.
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UN action track
SDG
29/07/2020
The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to renewed discussions on the benefits and costs of global value chains (GVCs), and in particular on whether GVCs increase risks and vulnerabilities to shocks. Questions are being raised about whether the gains from deepening and expanding international specialisation in GVCs are worth the associated risks, and whether more localised production would provide greater security against disruptions that can lead to shortages in supply and uncertainty for consumers and businesses.
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UN action track
SDG
29/07/2020
Healthy ecosystems, and their associated services, can provide effective natural protection against water-related climate risks. Nature-based solutions (NbS) have recently gained momentum in international policy discussions due to their potential to foster synergies between ecosystem health and human wellbeing, while also offering economic benefits. This paper provides an overview of the use of NbS to date in OECD countries and finds that in most cases ambition for NbS does not match practice. Focusing on the application of NbS for addressing climate-related flood and drought risks, this paper explores why prevailing decision making frameworks may fail to adequately consider NbS. It sets out a policy evaluation framework that supports the identification of, and proposed ways to address constraints on the use of NbS to address water-related climate risks.
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