Food concerns us all, and particularly right now, when the war in the Ukraine contributes to rising food prices and a possible global food crisis. Each year, the EU spends around €55 billion on subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy. But who benefits from all this money?
In principle, the recipients of these funds are made public – that’s stated in the regulation. In reality, it’s a bit more complicated: Data are presented by national governments; they may be in different formats or – as data journalists say – the data are dirty. This year, in collaboration with Frag Den Staat / Open Knowledge Foundation Germany we have initiated an update of the Farmsubsidy.org data collection.
The original Farmsubsidy project is really the roots of the Dataharvest conference. EU journalists in Brussels got together to find out who were the main beneficiaries of the EU agricultural funds. They met every year to harvest the data when published and compare them. Out of this annual meeting and collaboration grew what is today Dataharvest – the European Investigative Journalism Conference.
There has been a lack of funds to maintain the material in recent years, but now – thanks to a generous donation from the OAK Foundation/Swiss Philanthropies – the material will be updated with the latest data.
The EU’s agricultural policy was developed in the late 1950s. Several decades passed and the political, societal, and environmental needs have changed. But the common agricultural policy has created new structures that are hard to change.
Food and Water is the focus of this year’s Dataharvest conference, and the theme is only made more acute by the current war in Europe. Food prices are on the rise with following social consequences, setaside areas will be re-included for production, resulting in more use of fertilizer and pesticides, harming the environment.
So if you’re interested in food supply and distribution, food prices, public health, small farms, the environment and biodiversity, the climate or economic inequality in general, do join us for this data buffet and see which data are available relating to your part of Europe or your field of topics. The Farmsubsidy.org data experts will be there to explain how to use the data.