City University Food Thinkers

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Slides accompanying a talk by Jack Thurston of farmsubsidy.org, a project bringing together researchers, activists and journalists pushing for more transparency in Europe's farm subsidy system.

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City University Food Thinkers

  1. 1. Transparency and the food system Food Thinkers series at City University 29 October 2008 Jack Thurston Co-founder, farmsubsidy.org
  2. 2. If Europeans knew how the EU spends €55 billion a year on farm subsidies... Would they approve?
  3. 3. Our method Freedom of information + Investigative reporting Vigorous debate + Better policy =
  4. 14. Poland: Top 10 recipients, 2006 & 2007 Recipient name Location Amount € Spółdzielcza Agrofirma Witkowo Witkowo Pierwsze 4 255 935 Top Farms Głubczyce Spółka Z.O.O Głubczyce 4 064 372 Top Farms Wielkopolska Sp. Z O. O. Piotrowo Pierwsze 3 991 238 Kombinat Rolny Kietrz Sp.Zo.O. Kietrz 3 814 261 Poldanor S.A. Przechlewo 3 798 350 Kom-Rol Kobylniki Spółka Z O.O. Kobylniki 2 221 563 Agro - Skandawa Spółka Z Ograniczoną Odpowiedzialnością Agro - Skandawa Sp. Z O.O. Aptynty 2 084 845 Rolnyvik Sp. Z O.O. Barciany 1 922 988 Polska Hodowla I Obrót Zwierzętami Sp. Z O.O. Szymankowo Szymankowo 1 808 175 Agri Plus Spółka Akcyjna Konarzewo 1 558 059
  5. 15. Percentage of all direct payments (2006)
  6. 16. Why? “ For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.” Matthew 13:12
  7. 23. Direct payments, € per hectare, 2013
  8. 24. Direct payments, € per hectare, 2013 A flat payment at at €229 per hectare
  9. 25. Behind the headlines
  10. 26. Data obtained - timeline May 06 May 07 August 08 Value of payments € 33 billion € 55 billion € 66 billion Number of payments n/a 8.2 million 12.1 million Number of recipients 0.9 million 2.6 million 6.5 million Countries 8 18 21
  11. 27. 3.2 million searches since 1 Dec 2005 300 visits per day (up to 1,000) 9 pages per visit 7 minutes per visit 66 per cent new visits
  12. 28. European Transparency Initiative 30 Sept 2008: Rural development aid 30 April 2009: Direct payments
  13. 30. ✔ Name ✔ Municipality ✔ Amount
  14. 31. ✘ Business ID ✘ Geodata ✘ Schemes
  15. 32. That’s 27 websites! (even though the Commission possesses all the data itself)
  16. 33. <ul><li>“ Observes that the Commission's website currently includes links to the databases of the 14 Member States providing information on beneficiaries of common agricultural policy payments under shared management; regrets however that the information is so diverse and scattered and of such varying quality that information can hardly be found; calls on the Commission to learn from the very accessible website www.farmsubsidy.org which works very well and is set up without public funding .” </li></ul>European Parliament, 19 February 2008
  17. 34. But has it made a difference?
  18. 35. Payment limits
  19. 36. Entitlement approach v. Programming approach
  20. 37. Predictions? <ul><li>Direct payments (€36+ bn) </li></ul><ul><li>will become politically unsustainable </li></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><li>- biggest get most </li></ul><ul><li>- historic basis of payment </li></ul><ul><li>- massive variations in rates </li></ul><ul><li>- cross compliance is an illusion </li></ul><ul><li>- high prices & profits (cereals) </li></ul>
  21. 38. Transparency in the food chain?
  22. 39. ‘ Supermarket Pastoral’
  23. 45. www.howstuffismade.org
  24. 46. <ul><li>“ a visual encyclopedia that documents the manufacturing processes, labor conditions and environmental impacts involved in the production of contemporary products” </li></ul>
  25. 47. barcode wikipedia
  26. 48. Transparency Technology Media ?
  27. 49. [email_address]

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