Should organic farming subsidies influence food price?

Pretty simple suggestion but makes sense to me.

I think that one’s a bit weird because:

  • Organic Farming tends to be more expensive, so food prices should rise
  • but there’s more food now! So food prices should sink

So it’s not quite clear to me which effect would win out.
Maybe it’d even be a double effect, raising price at first, but once there’s a LOT, lowering it again?

Food prices would remain the same/decrease- I’m not sure how familiar you are with the mechanisms of supply and demand, but subsidies increase production by effectively decreasing the good’s cost of production, which conventionally leads to lower prices (to consumers), meaning more possible sales. How that actually plays out is dependent on some more complicated stuff but it’d take a very strange set of incentives for subsidies to increase prices.

It should reduce water crisis situation - it uses water more efficiently.

Presumably any subsidy is going to make stuff cheaper, otherwise there would be little point. The subsidy would be designed to get more people eating organic food, presumably by paying suppliers and thus enabling them to reduce prices they charge consumers, allowing more people to ‘switch’ to organic.
So yup, there should be some impact on food prices, if there is not already, athough ideally it would scale by organic-consumption, which is not explicitly tracked…

I did some reading up on organic foods water use, and it does seem to be a bit less, especially per acre or per farm, but then yields are lower so water use/food produced is only a bit lower, but it woud be worth adding a minor impact on water shortage.

In fact it is not clear that organic farming is better for the enviroment, at least in all cases

There’s also the fact that organic farming is far less land-efficient. Due to the fact that it produces lower crop yields more farmland is required to produce the same amount of food. That land has to come from somewhere, meaning deforestation. And land used for farming isn’t used for housing, meaning less land available for housing which translates to higher housing costs.

IMO that’s where vertical farms come in. They can be highly controlled environments, therefore relying way less on pesticides and other stuff and so they can effectively produce produce that can be called organic, and yet yields can actually be higher per layer than regular farms (again because of the highly controlled environment that can be used all year round regardless of outside weather and all that), and a single farm can have dozens of layers, so per acre, land use is also dramatiaclly smaller.

Some really cool systems try to do many things at once. For instance they have a closed water cycle, so they cause no water pollution - all water that isn’t going into plant growth is cleaned on site and then reused. And some of them use an extra container to produce fish as well. It’s really a complete reimagination of what farming could be.

But anyway, we already got that policy, heh

Now I am thinking, shouldn’t “reforestation” increase food prices because is reducing the land for growing food?

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Honestly it would be cool if there was some sort of land usage system comparing how much of your land is used for housing vs. various industries vs. stuff like that. Could also add things like how much of your population is in cities vs. rural areas, and have events develop according to those things.
Like, in my mind I have like an implicit almost sim-city-esque model that you don’t control directly via zoning, but rather the network does that for you, turn for turn, by essentially taking into account your policies. It could also take into account traffic and availability of various transport options.
But I suppose that would be far too complex a change for D4. Maybe D5 could someday do something like this.

That being said, one nice thing about growing wood is, that you can, in fact, use wood without appreciably increasing CO2 levels with this one simple trick:
Don’t burn your wood :stuck_out_tongue: - making furniture or what ever out of it will make new room for more trees without reducing land or impacting CO2 (other than what ever the actual production does).

So really one of the industries ought to simply be forest/wood industry, and that policy would potentially massively boost that.

Another caveat with an assumption like that is, that in principle, such policies can work abroad. Like, you can commit to effectively buying a piece of to-be-forested area in some other country. Presumably that’s how places would do it which are largely desert.

TBH one silly thing about that policy right now is that it doesn’t at all scale country size. Like, it talks explicitly about planting up to 1M Trees a Year. But that sort of commitment is extremely different for a country like Liechtenstein vs. one like Russia! - Russia is more than 100000x larger by land area than Liechtenstein!
Maybe it should be phrased in terms of “trees per person?” Not perfect, but perhaps at least somewhat less dependent on country.

If you’re subsidizing anything, you’re going to reduce the cost of that thing you’re subsidizing.

Now, if the policy were to have been on wether or not to ban GMO in favour of purely organic agriculture, then the effect ought to be the opposite - the restrictions on agriculture would reduce yield, which in turn would increase food prices, as the demand has remained the same while the supply was reduced.

The thing is that if you’re subsidizing organic, the price for organic produce is going to drop, but more farmers are going to stop produce in a conventional way, that is cheaper. It could reduce prices for organic, an even for conventional, but if the organic market share grows it could increment the average price of food.

Land use modelling would definitely be very interesting. I wouldnt be surprised to see people mod this in during early access.