First Draft: Comments Welcome Globalization of the Food Industry and its Impact on Agricultural Trade Policy

  • Tim Josling
  • Published 1999

Abstract

It has for long been an oddity that the food industry has been so quiet when it comes to influencing agricultural policy. Of course some industry groups have made their position known on certain aspects of agricultural legislation, but all analytical treatments of the politics of agricultural policy and agricultural trade have focussed on the influence of the farm lobby and their supporters in legislatures. By contrast, consumer interests are considered weak and diffused and hence rarely get much political attention. Farm policy anomalies, such as the massive transfers made to a relatively few small businesses from consumers or taxpayers, are explained in terms of the over-representation of the rural vote, the identification of political interest with production rather than consumption activities, political support of the rural population or sympathy for what is perceived as a poorer and more backward sector. The food industry fits awkwardly in these explanations. They are both the processors and distributors of the output from farms and also the consumers of most farm goods as raw materials into some form of processing activity. Are the food companies extensions of the farm sector, and hence “on the side” of the producer, or are they the surrogate consumer, acting on behalf of families who do not buy direct from the farm? Or are they merely “neutral” intermediaries with no particular views on policy other than to see the food chain function.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Josling1999FirstDC, title={First Draft: Comments Welcome Globalization of the Food Industry and its Impact on Agricultural Trade Policy}, author={Tim Josling}, year={1999} }