Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Obesity subsidies for farmers?

Farmers' spokespersons have been trying hard to talk up the threat to food security from terrorists as a means of justifying the continuation of agricultural subsidies. However, the problem of obesity may give them a new basis for subsidy claims.

Australia has one of the worst obesity problems in the world and a call has been made for fruit and vegetables to receive subsidies to make prices more affordable. Research has shown that if apple prices were halved, sales would treble.

How the subsidy will be paid is yet to be decided. It does give farmers an opportunity to make use of discourses about health, although clearly some producers would benefit more than others.

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