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Virtual agriculture

The romantic view that food production should not be subject to normal market rules is bad news for the developing world and for our own countryside

By Richard H Webb   November 2003

World agriculture and food production is one of the great issues of our times. The global situation is, of course, a terrible mess, riddled with injustice and absurdities, but it is rare to find a clear and balanced analysis of why it should ever have come to this.

The geopolitics is familiar. For decades, western Europe and North America have been pouring huge sums into subsidising local overproduction of a wide range of crops. This has closed home markets to imports, forced international commodity prices down and held back the efficient and competitive farmers of countries like Brazil, Argentina, and…

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