OECD chief’s call to scale back subsidies for unsustainable agriculture welcomed by ProVeg

OECD secretary general’s remarks show need for debate on animal ag payments


The call by the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to shift public spending towards more sustainable and resilient agriculture should serve to trigger debate on whether subsidies for livestock farming should continue, ProVeg International said today.

Mathias Cormann, speaking in Paris earlier this month at a two-day gathering of OECD farming ministers, said that member states should urgently phase out subsidies to climate-harmful and inefficient agricultural practices. Stressing that global food systems are responsible for around one third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the Secretary General emphasised the need for a rapid shift to more sustainable and resilient farming. 

“We welcome Mr Cormann’s bold statement on subsidies,” Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg International, said.

“For too long, billions of taxpayers’ money has been poured into a system that is damaging our planet through large-scale deforestation and high greenhouse gas emissions.

“We must now heed Mr Cormann’s warning and earnestly seek to shift subsidies towards sustainable agriculture practices, in particular the production of plant-based whole foods and alternative proteins,” she added.

Animal agriculture is responsible for around 20% of total GHG emissions and 32% of all human-made methane emissions. It is estimated that by drastically reducing their consumption of animal products, consumers could slash up to 50% of their individual food-based emissions. 

Unfortunately, the role of food systems and diets in global warming remains marginalised in public debate. While food and agriculture were discussed at COP27 this month, the negotiated outputs of the conference are largely silent on the issue. 

“It is true that people are finally talking about food systems at COP, but the people at the negotiation table are still not taking this topic seriously enough”, de Boo said. 

“Global leaders must realise that we will not be able to reach the Paris climate goals if we fail to seriously transform the way we produce and consume food. From the shift to more plant-based diets and alternative proteins to agroecology, the solutions exist, they just need to be implemented”. 



For media inquiries, email Peter Rixon at [email protected]


About ProVeg International

ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.

ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and the planet.

ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award. ProVeg also has Observer Status at the IPCC.

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