Farmers in Cyprus are up in arms about government proposals to tax farm subsidies. But why not? Nearly all of the economic research shows that subsidies are a hopelessly inefficient way of organising agriculture and they have the disastrous side-effect of pricing developing countries out of products such as cotton where - without subsidies - they would have a competitive advantage . They are in effect a benefit in kind - so why not tax them accordingly. May this idea roll and roll . . .
Meawhile a reminder for new readers of the extent of the problem. OECD figures show, according to the Times of India , that in 2004 countries spent more than four times their official development aid budgets on support for domestic farmers.