08 March 1999
73% say scrap farm subsidies

By FWi staff

ALMOST three-quarters of respondents to a recent BBC discussion forum believe that farm subsidies should be scrapped.

Of the respondents to a recent Talking Point on the BBC Online internet site, 73% feel that farmers in the European Union (EU) should not be subsidised.

Many respondents e-mailed their comments to the website after registering their vote against farm subsidies.

“All taxpayer payments to farmers should end,” said John Murchison from the USA.

“They do nothing but distort market prices and encourage absurd practices . . . Why should farmers be a protected class? If my small business fails who will bail me out?”

John Thaw from England said: “Subsidies merely act to distort prices and encourage inefficiency. They should be scrapped immediately.

“Subsidies are not present in any other market, so why are farmers an exception?”

But David DAndrea from Canada commented: “Subsidies to farmers allow the EU to avoid the harsh consequences of the unfettered market.

“These include increasing [the] concentration of farm ownership in the hands of [agri-business], the rise of high-tech, ecologically damaging monocultures, and the demise of a traditional way of life.

“Seen from the vantage point of North America, where we have already lost these fights, it seems that the EU has good reason to support its farmers.”