Agriculture is not a funding priority for the Netherlands, but is incorporated into different sectors

Agriculture and rural development are not among the four thematic priorities of Dutch development assistance. Within policy making, agriculture is not seen as a single component, but rather as one intertwined with food security, water management, and climate protection. According to OECD data, ODA to agriculture and rural development decreased to US$326 million in 2015 (6% of total ODA; DAC average 7%) after doubling from US$185 million to US$377 million between 2010 and 2013.

In 2015, the Netherlands provided US$131 million of its funding to agriculture and rural development as multilateral ODA. This corresponds to 40% of total ODA to agriculture. These multilateral contributions were mainly in the form of assessed contributions to the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank, EU institutions, and funding to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Netherlands started a strategic partnership with the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) in 2015, focusing on food security, with specific attention to climate-smart agriculture, nutrition, water use, and biodiversity. In July 2017, the Netherlands announced a new commitment to CGIAR, US$72 for 2017-2019. In addition, a commitment of US$17 million was made for 2017-2021 to strengthen the partnership between the Netherlands and CGIAR.  In 2017, CCAFS (CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) opened its headquarters at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands.


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The main focus areas of bilateral agricultural ODA in 2015 (US$195 million) were agricultural research (18%), agricultural development (16%), rural development (14%), and food crop production (11%).

The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development and the Minister for Agriculture outlined three main targets in their 2014 letter to Parliament concerning the focus of the Netherlands’ support to food security: 1) eliminating hunger and malnutrition, 2) stimulating inclusive and sustainable growth in the agricultural sector, and 3) realizing ecologically sustainable food systems. The Netherlands intends to double the productivity and income for smallholder (female) farmers and build sustainable, climate-resilient food production systems by 2030. Coherence and synergies with related themes – such as private sector development, water, and climate, as well as the broader Dutch policy related to development cooperation and trade – is considered key. Within the focus areas, particular emphasis is placed on strengthening the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and adolescent girls; building resilience against food shortages and undernutrition; bilateral cooperation, including through the private sector and public private partnerships; reducing food losses and food waste; sustainable food production systems; sustainable stock farming; climate-smart agriculture; and sustainable climate-smart investments in all parts of the food chain together with the private sectors, research institutes, civil society organizations (CSOs), and governments. Additionally, the Netherlands contributes to the improvement of essential enabling conditions such as land tenure security, knowledge transfer and infrastructure, and institutional capacities.

The Dutch government aims to intensify the cooperation between high-tech corporations and CSOs to combat food scarcity in developing countries. It created the program Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW), in which the private sector and CSOs work together to improve sustainable food production and security and to fight the consequences of climate change by using satellite data. At the Marrakech Climate Change Conference (November 2016), the Netherlands pledged an additional €20 million to the G4AW program (€31 million was available from 2014-2015).

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The Directorate of Inclusive Green Growth (IGG) is responsible for policies related to food security

Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) is responsible for designing and coordinating the implementation of Dutch development policy. Within DGIS, the Department of Inclusive Green Growth (IGG) focuses on policies related to food security, climate, water, energy, and natural resources. IGG includes a specific thematic cluster on food security. The Sustainable Economic Development Department within DGIS supports farmer cooperatives in developing countries.