Food is essential for the survival of any animal on the planet, including human beings. This is why farming is as important as the food itself. Food production has so often faced various challenges, but what is perhaps significant is the fact that agricultural subsidies are there to encourage even higher food output from farmers. An agricultural subsidy is a sum of money that the government usually channels to farmers for the sake of providing them with the necessary essentials for their farming activities. These subsidies usually a more or less direct impact on the cost of these products in the long run, since by their provision, the farmers are shielded from the exorbitant input costs which usually have a bearing on the final product of the farm produce. Subsidies are usually provided to various cash crops especially, such as cocoa, tea, coffee and tobacco. Of late, however, there has been much debate as to whether or not agricultural subsidies should be stopped.
The agricultural subsidies have great importance to farmers and agribusinesses since they help provide some form of insurance and assurance for the farmers. Farming can sometimes have serious challenges such as famine, crop failure, diseases and problems when it comes to marketing. Provision of these subsidies therefore, helps shield the farmer against such vagaries.
There are some special programs for example, where the farmer gets subsidies each time his production goes beyond a certain threshold per acre. The lower the revenue and the price have earned, the higher the subsidies given. This has enabled farmers to control their agribusinesses thus saving the country from food shortage.
There are also programs that run several farm conservation to enable farmers to keep their vast acres of lands out of production. The government through the Marketing Loans program give farmers a loan during harvest time to run their usual planting and wait until a suitable time when the prices are favorable, for them to sell their produce.
Through these subsidies, the government can also help mitigate the negative impacts of natural disasters to the farmers, market and promote their exports in international markets and aids in research for the best seeds to be planted and in analyzing the best soil for a particular crop. However, farm subsidies have also a shortcoming, for instance, they redistribute wealth upwards. It takes all the earnings of taxpayers to well-off businesses and landowners.
It has also damaged the country’s economy. The government gives loans, and those loans are used to overproduce crops, which will flood the market thus lowering their costs and lots of damage. It also distorts the land since there is no time for crop rotation. Subsidies are also prone to scandal since some farmers fail to manage their farming properly and will end up making a loss instead of profit, thus robbing the government economy.
Subsidies have led to the damage of the environment. This is because it causes overproduction whereby some natural resources like forests are destroyed to create room for agriculture. This leads to depletion of game parks thus killing the tourism industry, which would have, earn the country revenue and foreign exchange.Since adverse impacts of the farm subsidies are tremendous, the government should stop giving them out. A country cannot survive only on agribusiness but needs to diversify its economic activities. The government should support all the businesses to balance its economy.