Nieuws - 10 februari 2011

Prem time: Radix on the radio

On the morning of Wednesday 9 February, a bright yellow school bus rode onto the Wageningen campus, bringing radio presenter Prem Radhakishun to the Radix building, from which he broadcast his Radio 1 programme. The subject of discussion: the distribution of European agricultural subsidies.

The yellow bus in front of Radix
The programme went out on the day the Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation's permanent parliamentary committee met to discuss the future of the common agriculture policy. The committee had invited scientists, civil society organization and representatives of the agricultural sector to provide input. Radhakishun anticipated the discussion and asked Siem Jan Schenk of LTO Netherlands whether Dutch agricultural subsidies were not terribly unfair.
Schenk: 'Above all, I explained how important agriculture is for food supplies and for green space.' Production subsidies no longer exist, says Schenk. The money is used instead for social goals such as the environment.
'Should the Netherlands make sure it gets as many European subsidies as possible, or would it be better if the money went to children in Africa?' asked Radhakishun at the start of the programme.
'People have the idea that we are keeping funding away from developing countries with our subsidies,' says Schenk, 'but that is not the case. Developing countries have their own issues. If the economy doesn't get going, people keep on milking just one cow. But when labour gets more expensive, agriculture gets more efficient.'