Tuesday, September 13, 2005


The most trade-distorting policies are in the agriculture sector.
Many developing countries still depend on the agriculture sector.

Three-quarters of the world's poor-900 million people-live in rural areas
and depend on agriculture or related activities.

Rich countries-the EU is among the worst offenders-grant large support
to their domestic agricultural producers, totalling $300 billion annually.

These subsidies lead to worldwide overproduction that effectively
depresses world prices, floods poor country markets and undermines
incentives and earning opportunities for farmers in developing communities.

In the meantime, agriculture policies in OECD countries cost consumers
and taxpayers $300 billion every year-six times annual OECD spending on ODA.

Reform of agriculture policies reducing overall levels of support,
would free up hundreds of billions of dollars and,
in effect, reduce the domestic burden on consumers and taxpayers;
at the same time, this would help to eliminate harmful import barriers and export subsidies.

As two-thirds of the world's poor live in rural areas and depend on agriculture,
putting an end to the distortion of international and local agriculture markets
is a crucial ingredient to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal.