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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Rich Countries' Farm Subsidies Benefiting Royals

Subsidies for agriculture in the industrialised countries of the world grew again in 2009, benefiting the largest companies and land owners, such as Prince Albert of Monaco and Queen Elizabeth of Britain.The latest increase came despite repeated and consistent evidence that such subsidies contribute to the destruction of the livelihoods of poor farmers in developing countries, especially in Africa, and that they distort international trade. According to a new study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), subsidies for agriculture in industrialised countries rose to around 252.5 billion dollars, or 22 percent of total farmers' receipts in 2009 -- up from 21 percent in 2008. The study, "Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries at a Glance 2010", found that the European Union's subsidies for farmers rose from 22 to 24 percent. In the period between 2007 and 2009, EU farmers received an average of 23 percent of their gross receipts in form of direct financial support from the state. The OECD represents the 30 most industrialised countries of the world, including the U.S. and most members of the EU. The subsidies for farmers in OECD countries have been at the centre of a heated dispute for years, both at the level of the EU and U.S. and within the larger framework of the World Trade Organisation and its deadlocked Doha Development Round. The EU spends about 75 billion dollars on subsidies for agriculture, even though the sector represents only about two percent of the total gross The new OECD data inflamed these complaints, the more so since it has been shown that the largest agro-businesses and even some royal houses in European monarchies benefit the most from the subsidies.domestic product of the union. This subsidies regime will only change in 2014.

Source: Allafrica