Impact Defense Core Economy

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Impact Defense Core



International agriculture subsidies artificially drive down global crop prices and devastate global market—biggest alt cause

Clay, 13-- Jason Clay is the senior vice president of market transformation at WWF-US( Jason, August 8th, 2013, The Guardian Professional, “Are agricultural subsidies causing more harm than good?,”

At the World Trade Organisation's Doha Round in 2001, many developing nations – including Brazil, China and India – opposed agricultural subsidies in the US and EU. They argued the high subsidies were artificially driving down global crop prices, unfairly undermining small farmers and maintaining poverty in many developing countries. What a difference 12 years makes. In that time, developing countries have grown their own agricultural subsidies rapidly. And those in BRIIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia and China) have increased the fastest. China's agricultural subsidies, estimated at $160bn (£103bn) in 2012, now dwarf those in the US ($19bn) and EU ($67bn) combined. Brazil's agricultural subsidies have doubled in just three years, and now total about $10bn, according to a recent government report. And in India, price supports for wheat and rice grew by 72% and 75%, respectively, between 2005-06 and 2010-11, significantly exceeding those in the US. If done well, these rapidly developing countries' agricultural investments could support innovation and help build a stronger middle class, feed the hungry, produce surpluses for export and pull millions of the rural poor out of poverty and into better lifestyles. But such spending must be very targeted and short term. For example, a subsidy could be used to support the adoption of technologies or practices that are not common with producers. But, once proven to be cost effective, the subsidies should be removed. In general, subsidies should be employed to change behaviour and solve specific problems rather than to serve as a long-term crutch for producers. If not, it will stifle innovation and make producers both less competitive and more dependent on government. On our finite planet, where natural resources are increasingly hard to come by, it's important for producers to focus on doing more with less. Subsidies tend to reduce incentives for producers to boost efficiency and shift their focus from crops to farming subsidies. As a result, many end up doing less with more. For example, India subsidises the cost of energy to pump water for agriculture, which encourages producers to pump more water than they need. This has made Indian producers among the world's least efficient water users. Given that food and water are in short supply, a more effective way to run the system would be to support those who produce more food with less water. Global subsidies may also lead producers to overuse fertilisers or pesticides, which can result in soil degradation, groundwater depletion and other negative environmental impacts. In addition, agricultural subsidies and price supports can also distort global commodity markets, affecting the global economy, and affect national security, food security and poverty. As per-capita incomes and consumption increase globally, the last thing we need are market distortions that send producers unclear signals about food prices and global demand. Unless handled carefully, agricultural subsidies could undermine efforts to promote efficiency and more sustainable agriculture. And that, in turn, could make many people reluctant to invest in sustainability at all. What we need, now more than ever, are producers who invest in efficiency, innovation and sustainability. Unfortunately, though unsurprisingly, an increasing number of producers defend subsidies and seek to maintain or even increase them. To change this situation, governments first need to wake up to the long-term implications of agricultural subsidies. It is advisable for them to be more wary. After all, many developing countries still struggle to provide basic services such as clean air and water, education, public services, infrastructure and healthcare for ageing populations. Within the context of these competing needs, we need to ensure that any agricultural subsidies increase productivity, efficiency and global competitiveness. Otherwise, it will be increasingly difficult to justify supporting one segment of the population when so many other priorities remain unfunded. We've come a long way since the Doha launch, in terms of global economic growth and the increase in global per-capita GDP. Many BRIIC and developing countries have led the way. Now we need to take a hard look to assess whether agricultural subsidies are the best way to address food security and other basic human needs. Global economic progress requires a recalibration of how we approach today's challenges. Agricultural subsidies can be a blunt instrument that can impede progress and slow economic growth if they're wielded without precision and a specific cut-off date. We'll only succeed in protecting our planet – and our food security – if we change how we think about subsidies and how we use them.

No impact - Squo solves

Resurreccion ’13 [Lyn. Science Editor for Business Mirror. “Crop Biotechnology: A Continuing Success Globally” The Business Mirror, 2/23/13 ]

CROP biotechnology has been achieving “continuing success” globally as the number of farmers who use it and the farms planted to biotech crops are increasing, recording 17.3 million farmers who planted the crops in 170.3 hectares in 28 countries in 2012, Dr. Clive James, chairman of the board of directors of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), said on Thursday. James said the trend in crop biotechnology is in favor of developing countries, which compose 20 of the 28 countries that adopt the technology. Another significant development, he said, was that for the first time developing countries planted more biotech crops in 2012, with 52 percent, against the developing countries’ 48 percent. They registered equal production in 2011. This, James said, “was contrary to the perception of critics that biotech crops are only for the developed countries and would not be adopted by developing countries.” The increase in biotech farms in 2012 recorded a growth rate of 6 percent, or 10.3 million hectares more from 160 million hectares in 2011, James told a select group of journalists at a hotel in Makati City when he announced the results of the ISAAA report “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops for 2012.” James said this development was “remarkable” because it recorded a 100-fold increase in biotech crop hectarage in the 17th year of its adoption—from 1.7 million hectares in 1996, when it was first commercialized. “It also reflects the confidence of farmers in the technology. They make their decision on the second year [on the technology they use] based on the performance of the first year,” he said. He noted that of the 17.3 million farmers, 15.5 million, or 90 percent, are resource-poor, thereby helping farmers increase their income. He said biotech contributed to economic gains of $100 billion from 1996 to 2011, half of this was from reduced production cost, such as less pesticide sprays, less plowing and fewer labor, and the other half was from increased production per hectare. Increased production, James said, resulted in increase in farmers’ income and “more money in their pockets.”

Ag labor shortages are exaggerated

Martin 7 (Philip Martin, professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis, 07, Farm Labor Shortages: How Real? What Response?

News reports and editorials suggest widespread farm labor shortages. The Los Angeles Times described �a nationwide farm worker shortage threatening to leave fruits and vegetables rotting in fields.�1 The Wall Street Journal in a July 20, 2007, editorial claimed that �farmers nationwide are facing their most serious labor shortage in years.� The editorial asserted that �20 percent of American agricultural products were stranded at the farm gate� in 2006, including a third of North Carolina cucumbers, and predicted that crop losses in California would hit 30 percent in 2007. The Wall Street Journal editorial continued that, since �growers can only afford to pay so much and stay competitive,� some U.S. growers are moving fruit and vegetable production abroad. The New York Times profiled a southern California vegetable grower who rented land in Mexico to produce lettuce and broccoli because, the grower asserted: �I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I did that [raise U.S. wages] I would raise my costs and I would not have a legal work force.�2 These reports of farm labor shortages are not accompanied by data that would buttress the anecdotes, like lower production of fruits and vegetables or a rise in farm wages as growers scrambled for the fewer workers available. There is a simple reason. Fruit and vegetable production is rising, the average earnings of farm workers are not going up extraordinarily fast, and consumers are not feeling a pinch � the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables has averaged about $1 a day for most households over the past decade.

Failing agriculture infrastructure causes high food prices


SUMMARY Recent increases in the price of food and concerns over its availability and access to it have focused attention on overcoming problems related to the transport of agricultural food products. Rising transport costs can account for up to two thirds of food prices. In addition, spoilage between farm and market as a result of inadequate transport, storage and processing render a large share of perishable food unusable, which is having a major impact on the poorer segment of communities in the region. While food trades are increasingly complex and some countries have put in place advanced logistics solutions, the majority of the countries in Asia and the Pacific have yet to establish the infrastructure and institutional frameworks needed to ensure the efficient, seamless transport of foods from farm to market. This document contains a preliminary investigation of the way transport and logistics impact the sustainable development of the food industry and identifies issues that need to be further addressed at the national and regional levels. Delegations may wish to share their experiences and progress and discuss challenges concerning food transport and logistics. The Committee may also wish to propose further research that could be presented to the Forum of Asian Ministers of Transport in 2009 as the basis of a regional exchange of experiences to enhance the availability of and access to food through improved transport and logistics. INTRODUCTION 1. Recent soaring food prices have brought the agricultural food industry into the international spotlight. Table 1 shows the dramatic increase in the cereal export prices of the main suppliers to the Asian region. While prices in major grain trades increased by some 50-70 per cent between mid-2007 and mid-2008, those for rice, the main staple food in Asia, nearly tripled over the same period of time. Although the food market situation differs from country to country and future development remains highly uncertain, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations suggests that food prices are likely to remain high in the years to come. 2. Transport and logistics account for a large part of final food prices and increasing oil and energy costs have made this topic even more relevant. Despite the high share of transport costs and the increased incidence of food spoilage in the process of transport and storage, questions of food transport and logistics have not been addressed in a comprehensive and coherent manner at the international level. A report by the United States Government Accountability Office in April 2007 showed that transport and other overhead costs consumed 65 per cent of United States food aid dollars, mainly due to rising fuel prices. 2 3. Inadequate logistics systems not only increase costs but also impact the availability of food to consumers. According to a report by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, China’s cold storage capacity is estimated to cover only 20-30 per cent of demand. A lack of controlled atmosphere and refrigeration equipment leads to spoilage losses of up to 33 per cent of perishable food. 3 In India, various research studies by the Economic Times Intelligence Group and the Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency reveal that large quantities of grain are wasted due to improper handling and storage, pest infestation, poor logistics, inadequate storage and a lack of transport infrastructure. 4 4. Furthermore, adequate infrastructure and access to transport services are prerequisites for the development of sustainable food trade, and requirements are becoming increasingly complex in importing countries and regions as more countries move into sophisticated trading in fresh fruit and vegetables, meat or fish at the domestic or international levels.

Aff can’t solve - climate change collapses agriculture

Lewis 13 – Instructor of Mass Communication at Frostburg State (Thomas A, “USDA Report Foresees Collapse of Agriculture,” 2-8-13, The Daily Impact, //AD
A new US Department of Agriculture report looking only at the threat of climate change implies that industrial agriculture will be on its knees in 25 years. “We’re going to end up in a situation where we have a multitude of things happening that are going to negatively impact crop production,” said Jerry Hatfield, lead author of the study. “In fact, we saw this in 2012 with the drought.” Ever the cheerleader for industrial agriculture, the USDA insists that corporate farmers will be fine for a couple dozen years as long as they increase irrigation, use genetically modified, drought-resistant seeds — and move. After that time frame, however, the USDA report — the third annual Climate Assessment Report, just released in draft form for public review — throws up its hands and admits that escalating temperatures will stunt crops, reduce yields, stimulate weeds and insects, overheat food animals, foster disease and — worst of all — reduce profitability. In other words, it will be the end of the world as they know it. Okay, that’s snide. The report states flatly that within 25 years the cumulative effects of global warming will become “a threat to the security of the United States.” The report [summarized in USA Today] is remarkable on two counts. First, of course, is that the cheerleaders are losing their cheery confidence that we will somehow win this game. Second is how pessimistic they become when looking at only one set of threats. According to the report, one way to fight climate change, which already has half the country locked in a vicious drought, is to increase irrigation. Right. And their likely advice to the millions who will be starving when the water runs out and the crops fail: you should eat more. What about topsoil loss, which continues to accelerate despite billions spent on conservation half-measures? What about the rise of pesticide-resistant weeds, bugs and bacteria? What about the poisoning of rivers and lakes, and the dead zones in the oceans? Add all these effects to the report’s slender survey and it’s hard to imagine getting through 25 years before it gets serious. Still, can we expect Big Ag to change its ways now that its own team has issued a report as brutal in its outlook as this one? Hardly. Because the same government that paid for the report gives them cheap insurance against crop failure. Cheap crop insurance — like cheap flood insurance — is a product so ruinous to the insurer that no private company will touch it.

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