British farm in Devon Phil Clarke Hill/Getty Images

El Brexit contra el campo

OXFORD – El retiro del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea sin duda conlleva muchos riesgos. Pero, si los políticos y los líderes empresariales británicos tienen razón, también crea una oportunidad importante: la posibilidad de construir un sector agrícola más seguro, más ecológico, más eficiente y más innovador. Si el Reino Unido logra aprovechar esta oportunidad, la UE, Estados Unidos y otras economías con sectores agrícolas altamente protegidos podrían seguir sus pasos.

Tal como están las cosas, grandes porciones de la agricultura del Reino Unido están atascadas en la Política Agrícola Común de la UE (PAC), acusada de impulsar al sector hacia prácticas de mayor volumen, más industriales y más perjudiciales para el medio ambiente, sin respaldar la diversidad agrícola y destinando los pagos a los terratenientes más adinerados de Gran Bretaña. Una investigación de 2005 determinó que los 3.000 millones de libras (3.900 millones de dólares) en subsidios que el Reino Unido recibe de la PAC fueron destinados, en gran medida, a importantes empresas dedicadas a la industria agropecuaria y a la producción de alimentos, como Nestlé, Cadbury y Kraft.

Una vez liberados de la defectuosa PAC, sostienen quienes defienden el Brexit, el Reino Unido podrá construir un sector agrícola más competitivo que beneficie a los agricultores y a los trabajadores agrícolas, reduciendo inclusive la dependencia de subsidios distorsivos. Y podrían estar en lo cierto. En Nueva Zelanda, la abolición de subsidios en 1984 ayudó a catalizar la innovación y la diversificación en el sector agrícola, que hoy es el motor del crecimiento económico de Nueva Zelanda.

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