NETHERLANDS - STRATEGIC FRAMEWORKS AND CURRENT PORTFOLIO
Food security, as one of the four priority sectors, is a key sector of cooperation in nine partner countries. Engagement is not limited to food security but has a strong focus on agriculture, private sector and rural development. Dutch cooperation in agriculture aims at stimulating sustainable production, creating efficient markets, securing incomes and improving access to healthy food. Key target groups are agribusinesses, smallholder farmers (particularly female and young farmers) and governments, especially the ministries of agriculture.
The bilateral portfolio focuses on land rights, access to financial services, water and agricultural inputs, strengthening producer organizations, extension services and agricultural education, value chain development, reduction of post-harvest losses and improvement of rural infrastructure. In addition, private sector development, the production of non-food crops and the promotion of Dutch trade and investment play a prominent role in bilateral cooperation.
Projects are implemented by local authorities, CSOs, consultancies and increasingly through PPPs, in order to use Dutch expertise in agriculture and to create trade and business opportunities for Dutch companies. For instance, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (Initiatief Duurzame Handel, IDH), in operation since 2008, brings together governments, private sector, trade unions and CSOs. It aims to improve agricultural value chains and is funded by the MFA (€22 million or US$31 million in 2012). The Producer Organizations Support Program (Programma Ondersteuning Producentenorganisaties, POP) implemented by the Dutch organization Agriterra on behalf of the MFA aim at strengthening producer organizations in developing countries. Funding for 2012 amounted to €13 million (US$18 million). Another €30 million (US$42 million) is provided for PPPs aiming at improving food quality, strengthening of entrepreneurial capacity and business support centers, and to moving from imported to locally produced raw materials. Civil society has criticized current private sector programs for not being primarily focused on improving living conditions of rural poor, especially women, but on creating business opportunities for Dutch enterprises.
The Netherlands supports a number of new partnerships related to agricultural development. The 2012 budget includes €25 million (US$35 million) for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), to which it pledged US$143 million (€111 million) in April 2012, US$76 million (€59 million) of which have already been disbursed. In 2009, the government pledged €5 million (US$6.5 million) over five years for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) of African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
In 2011, the Netherlands provided US$9.4 million (€6.8 million) for development-oriented agricultural and forestry research (5.8% of total bilateral ODA for agriculture and rural development), which went to a number of research institutions. Multilaterally, the Netherlands focuses its funding for agricultural research on the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). In October 2012, it committed US$165 million (€128 million) over four years (2012-2015) to the CGIAR Fund, the largest multi-year commitment to the Fund since its inception in 2010. In 2012, Dutch contributions amount to US$37.8 million.
The 2012 budget also included €10 million (US$14 million) for support to developing countries to improve agricultural value chains, channeled through the International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development. The Netherlands also supports the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) to which it was the largest European government donor in 2011 (US$2.5 million or €1.8 million).
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