Smarter Farm Subsidies Can Drive Ecosystem Restoration
Every year, governments give out $700 billion in agricultural subsidies globally. Though well-intentioned, these farm subsidies sometimes work against their core goal: boosting crop yields and farmer incomes while developing rural areas.
Farm subsidies can also inadvertently drive people to clear forests to produce commodities like soy and beef, which caused around 20% of global tree cover loss in 2018. This has a major economic toll, too. Deforestation and land degradation lower the productivity of soil in forests and on farms, costing rural communities as much as $6.3 trillion a year. Agriculture, forestry and land use change are also a major source of carbon pollution, representing 18.5% of climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.
A new WRI report highlights how governments can shift public farm subsidies to stimulate inclusive rural development while protecting the environment and smallholder farmers.
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