DEVELOPMENT IN AGRICULTURAL POLICIES

A number of countries are reviewing current agricultural policy frameworks. As reforms to existing policies and support measures occurred in several countries.There have been institutional and regulatory developments too.

Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture created the Ministerial Technical Committee on Climate Change to address the challenges faced by the agriculture sector due to its high vulnerability to weather variability. Costa Rica is reforming its extension services to better link them with the Innovation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology (INTA) with the help of country’s agricultural R&D institution. Viet Nam announced a lending programme to promote the development of high-tech, clean agriculture that offers interest rates 0.5-1.5% lower than market interest rates. On measures and programmes that affect agri-environmental and climate outcomes, Brazil passed its national biofuel policy in December 2017. The policy is an attempt to respond to Brazil’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement. Korea also plans to reduce the area eligible for rice support, by providing a higher payment for diversification along with measures to stimulate demand. Kazakhstan eliminated the VAT preference applied to certain agricultural producers and processors as part of  its WTO accession protocol. Korea strengthened procedures for product certification and pest and disease control and restructured some of its agricultural organisations.Korea’s Development Plan for 2018-22 foresees adjustments to current programmes and investment support for young farmers, for the integration of digital technology into food and agriculture. Also foresees for the promotion of renewable energy generation.China lowered the 2017/18 minimum support prices for wheat and rice, and replaced the soybeans target price by a “market-oriented soybeans price plus a direct subsidy to soybean farmers” based on area planted. From 2018, Japan abolished its government administered rice production quota and the income support payment for rice producers who meet the rice production target. Korea increased the per hectare rate of direct payments for farms and for less-favoured areas. 

Canada established two programmes to help dairy farmers and processors adapt to the anticipated impacts of increased cheese imports from the European Union as a result of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Chile implemented a new programme that targets young farmers (18-35 years old), by providing subsidies for variable and fixed inputs, finance, capacity building, training and the development of networks. Colombia implemented a range of new support measures. It is including a subsidy to rice farmers to store grain. Also an income compensation payment to cotton producers and debt rescheduling and debt relief for farmers (from 2018). The Philippines abolished the irrigation service fee paid by farmers to increase support for rice producers. The Russian Federation announced conditions for intervention purchases of dry milk and butter for the first time. The United States authorised a second Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) programme. In order to help cover cotton ginning costs for the 2017 crop year and made revisions to cotton and dairy programmes. In addition, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a number of provisions that will affect agricultural producers.Costa Rica modified the water pricing system based on consumption at the farm level.

In Australia, dairy industry participants signed a voluntary code of conduct to overcome issues surrounding the determination of farm gate prices and perceived unfair practices in the value chain. Israel introduced several programmes to reduce regulatory burden, facilitate market linkages, and increase competition in the agro-food chain, particularly in the fruit and vegetable sector.Turkey abolished two of its four state-owned marketing boards for agricultural products (for sugar and tobacco), but maintained the Turkish Grain Board and the Meat and Milk Board. The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock took over responsibility for administering marketing regulations in 2017. Ukraine continued efforts to improve the legislative basis for its food safety, hygiene and quality systems.

In Brazil, the Veterinary Inspection system is to be modernised to improve the management of animal disease risks. The government is recruiting six hundred additional sanitary professionals. In the European Union, the income stabilisation tool (within the rural development regulation) was amended to include a new sector-specific measure that triggers support if the average annual income in the sector drops by more than 20%. Further, support for insurance contracts becomes available when more than 20% of a farmer’s average annual production is destroyed. In Korea, the scope and coverage of the agricultural disaster insurance scheme were expanded to three additional products (citron, fig, and crown daisy raised in facilities). Turkey extended the coverage of support provided to agricultural insurance in 2018 to more products and risks.The European Union abolished the sugar production quota as initiated in the 2006 reform.

On land reform and investment, in New Zealand rules on access for foreign investors to “sensitive agricultural land” were extended to virtually all agricultural land. In South Africa a bill was passed allowing expropriation without compensation of commercial farms owned by white farmers. A change in legislation also prohibits foreigners from buying agricultural land and they can only lease it under long-term contracts. On innovation, Colombia approved a law to create a National AgriculturalInnovation System. 

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