Funding has increased, but agriculture is not a top priority for Japan
In 2015, Japan’s ODA for agriculture (including forestry, and fishing) and rural development stood at US$865 million, making it the fourth-largest donor to the sector among members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). This is an increase compared to 2014, when Japan spent US$791 billion of its ODA on this sector. Funding for agriculture and rural development represented 6% of total ODA in 2015, a share that is slightly below the DAC average of 7%. Agriculture is not amongst Japan’s top development priorities.
Japan channels the vast majority of its agriculture ODA bilaterally (69% in 2015; US$594 million). Funding focuses on agricultural water resources (26% in 2015), mainly made up of loans for irrigation projects in Asia. Other focus areas include forestry development (12%), agricultural development (10%), and rural development (9%), mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. The Japan Agency for International Cooperation (JICA) channels most of the country’s bilateral ODA for agriculture and rural development (US$478 million in 2015, 81% of bilateral agriculture ODA). Within the sector, JICA focuses particularly on promoting sustainable agriculture production, stable food supply, and dynamic rural communities. Japan has historically supported small-scale farming and is likely to continue to do so.
Multilateral ODA to agriculture stood at US$272 million in 2015 (31% of agriculture ODA). The main recipient was the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA): Assessed contributions made up two thirds of Japan’s multilateral ODA to agriculture (US$179 million; 21% of total agriculture ODA). Other recipients included regional development banks, as well as the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Japan joined the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) in 2012, pledging US$30 million to GAFSP’s private sector window. Japan also supports the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) with around US$13.5 million per year.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs steers strategic orientation for agriculture ODA; JICA leads on implementation
Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA), the ‘Development Assistance Policy Coordination Division’ is the most relevant department when it comes to agriculture and rural development ODA. Responsibility is shared by the Japan Agency for International Cooperation’s ‘Rural Development Department’ and relevant geographic departments.