The OECD, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, on Monday, 1 July 2019, published its annual report on agricultural policy in its member states. Each year the agricultural policy is reviewed based on the professional recommendations and decisions of the organization’s institutions for efficient, sustainable agricultural policy. The report findings indicate that in the past two years, the 53 countries surveyed have supported the farming sector to the tune of 1,410 billion dollars. Of this, 75% was transferred directly to the farmers. Another finding is that according to the OECD’s calculation model, the overall rate of support for Israeli farming was about 17.7% of the farmers’ receipts. This is slightly below the OECD average.
The report praises the measures taken by the government in Israel to reduce the regulatory burden and increase transparency in the farming sector. It also praises the government plans to prepare and adapt to climate change (such as analyzing meteorological data and their impact on crops in various regions, R&D to enhance crops, soil conservation, efficient use of resources, etc.).
The report also finds that like most other OECD countries, Israel supports its farmers and seeks to protect local produce, although it does this mostly through supporting the local prices, whether this be by planning in the dairy and egg sectors, or through customs tariffs, rather than through direct aid to the farmers. The OECD’s position, as is also the Ministry’s position, is that the support should be shifted in the form of aid directly to the farmers.
In this context it must be noted that the Ministry has for a long time been working to reach agreements to transition to direct aid. Representatives of the farmers and the Treasury have agreed, however at the last minute the farmers dragged their feet and in effect they changed their minds, and the move to direct aid – failed. We hope the next government will endorse the plan for switching to direct aid even without the consent of the farmers’ representatives. Attached is the Director General’s letter on this issue.
As for comparing between the OECD countries, the report states that in Israel, like the rest of the world, the aid is not distributed equitably among the farming sectors and that there are differences between the aid tools in different countries.
The report’s recommendations also indicate that the OECD encourages the public and private bodies in the various countries to continue building infrastructures and to revolutionize farming through various technologies, as is the case in Israel.