“Re – purposing” agricultural support basically means to re-direct our agri-food systems to a greener and far more sustainable path. This can be made possible by including practices that bring improvement to both the environmental impact as well as the productivity. With the advancement of time the need of re-configuring has increased. Inhere the reason and all other details as to why this pressing problem has to be addressed is discussed briefly.
What does the report basically suggest?
The UN report basically highlights that the recent aid and assistance to agricultural producers mainly focuses on providing incentives. These are mainly export and import subsidies ; along with financial subsidies. These are often related with the manufacturing of a particular asset, neglecting the goal of re-purposing. As a result of this, rate of food and agricultural products is misreported, health of a large number of people is deteriorated.
Why is it harmful?
The environment is harmed and it is very often unfair and partial to small-scale and poor farmers. In a general sense because a large proportion of it are women. It mainly focuses on keeping large and wealthy agribusiness companies far ahead thereby creating a wide gap that is impossible for the poor people to bridge the gap; and also makes re-purposing even more difficult. As a result of this; the important points of the sustainable development goals and those of the Paris agreement are not met; which were specifically set to address and support this agenda.
Although; the majority among all the agricultural support these days have negative and disastrous affects; around and about 110 USD are particularly invested in the agricultural and general food. The developing agricultural infrastructure is also supported by the investment. How can this actually help? Re- directing, or we may say re- purposing and appropriately re- configuring the support of agriculture producer rather than neglecting it will help in ending poverty, removing and fulfilling hunger, achieving a higher food security. It will help in maintaining a stable and sustainable agriculture, limit climate change and pollution and help in achieving overall sense of belief and security of the people.
This report was released on the occasion of UN food systems summit. It is basically said to be a wakeup call for all the concerned governments of all countries to reassess and shape the agricultural support scheme accordingly. It highlights a variety of such positive cases wherein the harmful subsidies were positively re- purposed and good steps were taken for the well being of the agricultural sector as well as the climate as a whole. These steps taken by the governments can be considered as role models. All the other governments can follow their footprints ; with a slightly different plan of action.
Some of these steps are mentioned in a sequence below:
1. The Indian State of Andhra Pradesh – Adopted a zero budget natural farming.
2. Single Payment Scheme – An initiative by the government of United Kingdom that removed harmful subsidies in agreement with the NFU.
3. China also is in favour of abolishing use of chemical pesticides and harmful mineral fertilizers ; as highlighted by them after the 2006 reform of agricultural policies.
Ways and methods of solving the situation:
Though , it’s natural that one strategy would not be able to accommodate a thousand needs. A single and one faced solution would not be able to solve and address a host of situations together. This is why the elaborate report suggests a 6 step approach or view for governments to keep in mind:
1. Identifying various re-purposing and re- configuring options.
2. Determine their impact on everyone as a whole.
3. Understanding the positive and negative effects of the strategic plan.
4. Looking after the support garnered for the said plan, view of different people is something that would bring stability to the plan.
5. Detailing the strategy of implementation and clarifying each point of the said strategy.
6. The very last step is to monitor the implemented strategy so as to make it a point as to how it works.
The Executive director of UNEP rightly mentioned that, “ By shifting to more efficient and equitable agriculture development and support, we can single handedly improve the livelihoods of millions of people. Also at the same time cutaway the harmful gaseous emissions, and also reduce the use of life threatening agro-chemicals.
Re- repurposing in both high and low income countries requires absolutely separate strategic plan of action. For example, in extremely poor countries the government should take necessary steps in re- configuring their power and support for chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides. All other such harmful components that have continued to threaten the environment for a very long time.
It is high time that the governments of all countries should take necessary steps for re- purposing in the agricultural sector for a better and safer future for the country as well as for the people who depend solely on agriculture to sustain their livelihoods and families.