Funding has increased, focus is on promoting sustainable agriculture production
Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) for agriculture (including forestry and fishing) and rural development was US$966 million in 2015 (the latest year for which complete data is available). This makes Japan the fourth-largest donor to the sector among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC). This is an increase compared to 2014, when Japan spent US$883 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 among Japan’s top development priorities.
Japan channels the majority of its agriculture ODA bilaterally (US$839 million in 2016). Funding focuses on agricultural water resources (20% in 2016), mainly made up of loans for irrigation projects in Asia. Other focus areas include fishery development (17%), agricultural policy and administrative management (15%), and agricultural development (9%). Japan’s agricultural development projects are mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the country’s bilateral ODA for agriculture and rural development is channeled through the Japan Agency for International Cooperation (JICA) (US$601 million in 2016, 72% of bilateral agriculture ODA). 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$303 million in 2015 (31% of agriculture ODA). The main recipient was the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA): Assessed contributions to IDA made up 60% of Japan’s multilateral ODA to agriculture (US$179 million; 19% of total agriculture ODA). Other recipients included regional development banks, as well as the Asian Development Bank and the Global Environment Facility.
Japan joined the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) in 2012, pledging US$30 million to GAFSP’s private sector window. At the end of 2016, Japan had disbursed US$20 million. Japan also supports the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) and contributed US$7 million in 2016.
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’ directs agriculture and rural development ODA strategy. Responsibility is shared by the Japan Agency for International Cooperation’s ‘Rural Development Department’ and relevant geographic departments, which lead on implementation of agriculture development activities.