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Australia still at the bottom when it comes to farm subsidies.

- Friday, September 23, 2011

The OECD has released it's annual survey of national agriculture subsidy levels by OECD members. While internationally, farm subsidy levels have been lower in 2010 due to the relatively high commodity prices, Australia and New Zealand farmers receive the lowest levels of subsidies of any farmers, and Australia is right at the bottom when it comes to total expenditure on agriculture as a proportion of national GDP.

The OECD compiles national farm sector subsidy data on an annual basis, in order to provide an international comparison of farm subsidy levels, and to encourage OECD nations and others to reduce farm subsidies and distortions to agricultural trade. In its report just released for 2010, New Zealand farmers received the lowest levels of subsidies of any nations farmers (averaged over the 2008-2010 period), with an estimated 1% of their farm income being generated through subsidies, trade restrictions or other forms of government support. Australian was ranked second lowest, at 3.2% of farm income derived from government support measures averaged over this period. This compares to an OECD average of around 20%, and a high for Norway of 60%.

 When agriculture sector support (including subsidies to farmers, subsidies to consumers and government R&D contributions) is measured in terms of government outlays to the sector as a proportion of national GDP, Australia had the lowest level, with outlays to agriculture equivalent to just 0.12% of GDP. This compares with an OECD average of 0.85%.

The data actually overstates current support levels in Australia, because it is reported as an average of the 2008 - 2010 years - during the earlier years of this period the drought subsidies being paid to farmers were higher than in the current year. For the 2010 year, subsidies and support for Australian farmers were equivalent to just 2.23% of farmers income.

Next time someone telly you Australian farmers are just whingers who are always on the Government teat, tell them they're dreaming!

Comments commented on 16-Jan-2014 03:15 PM
hi this comment about government subsidies being the lowest in the world is so true its scary. Im 35 yrs old and of all the farmers I know there isn't many my age or younger. Farming in general becoming tougher as every year goes by,costs involved to produce food and fibre are rising at a rapid rate and returns are dropping every day, its becoming a never ending battle just to keep the farm afloat, that is why young people are turning away from farming and at the moment not many parents are encouraging their children to stay in farming. Our government needs to do something very soon to protect farming in Australia.
Doug commented on 04-Jun-2014 03:03 PM
Hi, so true the prices for cattle is the same in 2014 as it was 35 years ago and you could buy T-bone steak for $3 per kilo. A beef farm of 500 hundred acres would support a family, you would be considered not to be a very good farmer if a family member had to go else where to work. Nowdays most farmers have to have a second job to be able to survive. Doesn`t this take up jobs in the towns? I`ve always been told don`t bite the hand that feeds you.
Matthew commented on 03-Oct-2014 10:22 AM
On one hand I can emphasize with you two gentleman but on the other I can also see the bad about agricultural subsidies.

While yes the food prices are lower while the costs to produce said unit of food keep going up that can actually be traced back to the Yanks.

With their system they actually produce more then is needed, This in effect drives down the cost of the food which makes it harder for farmers globally. Actually getting rid of the EU and US agricultural subsidies would make the value increase which in turn would help our farmers here in Australia as well as those globally.
Ung Grabb commented on 31-Oct-2014 02:03 AM
Dear Sirs

What irritates me as a consumer is that I want to consume Australian food products. I am happy to pay a few cents more per liter of mil, per kg of sugar, but only as long as it flows directly to the farmer, not to end up with the shop, the distribution chain, the mega monopoly companies and their greedy shareholders. I want the farmer to be able to have a good life, farm with a minimum of pesticides and stressed cattle.

But the farmers are too far away in the chain for this to happen. Sadly so.

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