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Agricultural Subsidies, Poverty, and the Environment

Supporting a Domestic Reform Agenda in Developing Countries

What policies are needed so that reforms in agricultural subsidies in developed countries can translate into real benefits for poor farmers and for the environment in developing countries?

Executive Summary

What policies are needed so that reforms in agricultural subsidies in developed countries can translate into real benefits for poor farmers and for the environment in developing countries?

This Policy Note analyzes the effects of U.S. and other developed-country agricultural subsidies on the environment and on poverty in developing countries.  It makes a case for subsidy reduction and proposes a policy reform agenda to help developing countries capitalize on these reductions and turn their agriculture sectors into vehicles for sustainable development.

Further, this Policy Note highlights the types of policies, laws, and programs that can affect sustainable agricultural development with or without an agreement by the World Trade Organization’s Doha Trade Round, specifically those measures that:

  • Empower poor farmers.
  • Integrate poverty alleviation and environmental goals.
  • Promote sustainable agricultural practices that will protect ecosystems and their ability to provide for the farmers who depend on them.
  • Promote better governance of the agricultural sector.

This Policy Note is part of the World Resources Institute’s ongoing series that outlines issues and provides recommendations relating to environmental markets, energy, climate, and trade. These recommendations are based on WRI’s independent analysis of biofuel policies, experience with developing and testing environmental markets, and our expertise in climate and trade issues.

We hope that you find the Notes informative and useful in helping define policies that promote environmental sustainability, rural vitality, and a healthy farm sector. Additional Policy Notes can be downloaded from http://www.wri.org/publication/policy-notes.

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