ODA to agriculture is growing, with a strong focus on bilateral assistance
South Korea’s ODA for agriculture (which, as a sector category, includes forestry and fisheries) and rural development has increased continuously over the last five years, reaching US$175 million in 2015 and accounting for 9% of total ODA. This is on par with the average of other members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC). South Korea has identified rural development as a priority sector of its development policy, arguing that it can share best practices in this area from its own history as a developing country. The focus on rural development is based on the country’s promotion of the New Village Movement (‘Saemaul Undong’) – a community-based approach that improved local economies in the South Korean countryside in the 1970s. Further funding increases for rural development are expected in the coming years.
South Korea channels most of its agriculture ODA bilaterally (US$138 million, or 79%, in 2015), focusing on agricultural development (46%) and rural development (19%).
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), South Korea’s implementing agency, has identified rural development as one of its seven priority sectors. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and its International Cooperation Bureau allocate a small share of ODA to agriculture and food-related projects.
Less than a quarter (US$37 million, or 21%) of agriculture ODA was channeled multilaterally in 2015, which is well below the OECD DAC members’ average of 45%. The vast share of this multilateral agriculture ODA represents contributions to the World Bank through the International Development Association (IDA; 44%), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO; 25%), and regional development banks (21%). South Korea pledged US$85 million to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) for 2011 to 2015, and has disbursed an additional US$15 million to it in 2016. South Korea is also a contributor to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). It has consistently increased its contributions to IFAD’s core resources, rising from US$7 million 2013 to 2015 to US$8 million for 2016 to 2018.
Policy divisions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs steer agriculture strategy
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) leads on the development of policies related to agriculture and rural development. The Development Policy Division, within MOFA’s Development Cooperation Bureau, is in charge of developing ODA policies, including on agriculture. The Multilateral Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance Division manages relations with multilateral agricultural organizations like IFAD.