Support policies largely hinder climate change adaptation


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Climate change is increasingly affecting agricultural production worldwide, through increased variability of temperatures and rainfall, disruptions to ecosystem services, and declining productivity growth. Agriculture faces an increasing frequency of extreme weather events, including droughts, floods, heatwaves and storms. While some regions may benefit from longer growing periods, production in most parts of the world urgently needs to adapt to less favourable and more variable growing conditions.

Frequency of natural disasters worldwide, 1970-2021

M&E 2023 natural disasters

Note: Data include all natural disasters meeting at least one of the following criteria: 10 or more people dead; 100 or more people affected; a declaration of a state of emergency; a call for international assistance.

Source: OECD (2023), Agriculture Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2023; EM-DAT, CRED / UCLouvain, Brussels, Belgium –

Governments are scaling up their efforts to help agriculture adapt to climate change. The 54 countries covered in this report have adopted close to 600 measures for climate change adaptation in agriculture. Among these, social, economic, and institutional measures, such as adaptation planning, investments in capacity building, the provision of climate services, and the creation of financial and insurance mechanisms, are most prominent. Together, they jointly account for 61% of all adaptation measures. Other activities, such as various ecosystem-based approaches, infrastructure and technical solutions, account for the remaining 39% of the total. These measures are more targeted at finding solutions for farmers and farming systems.

Agricultural adaptation actions and programmes
M&E 2023 figure adaptation actions

Note: Size of rectangle is proportional to the share of the total number of adaptation actions and programmes identified by the OECD Secretariat, based on information provided by capitals.

Source: OECD (2023), Agriculture Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2023.

However, effective adaptation of agriculture to climate change requires further actions. Governments should move beyond planning and urgently advance the implementation, monitoring and assessment of adaptation measures. Policies to strengthen climate change resilience should balance support for short-term recovery from climate-related shocks with medium-term incremental adjustments to changing conditions, as well as long-term transformative actions when existing systems become untenable. At the same time, countries are under pressure to enhance their efforts to reduce agricultural greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. While several countries have updated their economy-wide mitigation targets, today only 19 of the 54 countries covered have put in place some form of mitigation target for their agricultural sector.

Most current agricultural support reinforces existing production systems and hinders climate change adaptation. Market price support and other commodity-specific transfers distort production signals, discourage changes in production systems, and create distortions in international markets, which remain a key mechanism to smoothen the impacts of shortfalls or bumper harvests and strengthen the resilience of agriculture and food systems. In parallel, mitigation efforts in agriculture are essential to meet the 1.5-degree target stipulated in the Paris Agreement.

Most producer support is tied to the production of specific commodities

M&E 2023 figure production commodities

Source: OECD (2023), “Producer and Consumer Support Estimates”, OECD Agriculture statistics (database),

Investments in innovation, infrastructure and biosecurity can play an essential role in helping agriculture adapt to climate change. This entails channelling a greater share of R&D spending towards adaptation, ensuring investments in infrastructure are climate-resilient, supporting nature-based solutions at a landscape scale, and upgrading biosecurity measures to ensure farmers can respond to emerging threats from pests and diseases.

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