chapter  5
12 Pages

Undermining Alternatives

The structure of subsidies varies from country to country, but the thrust is the same: large-scale and intensive farmers pick up the lion’s share of taxpayers’ money, and therefore effectively receive a subsidy for farming in a non-sustainable way, further disadvantaging those who are trying to establish or preserve alternatives to industrial farming. A case in point is the use of EC funds to encourage the adoption of “modern, intensive farming methods”. In much of southern Europe, farmers are being given direct financial incentives to abandon traditional and sustainable practices (see p.49). As the markets for traditional produce are eroded, farmers get locked into a system of production and competition in which they need subsidies in order to survive.