Canada - Agriculture

Canada’s aims to enhance women’s economic empowerment and promote green growth through its investments in agriculture

Canada spent US$244 million or 5% of its total official development assistance (ODA) on agriculture (including forestry and fishing) and rural development in 2019 making it the ninth-largest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor that year (DAC average: 7%). Canada’s funding for agriculture has seen only small fluctuations in recent years (between US$235 million and US$269 million, representing 5-6% of its total ODA between 2015 and 2019).

More than half of Canada’s disbursements for agriculture were considered bilateral in 2019, including funding channeled bilaterally (US$120 million or 49%) and earmarked funding channeled through multilaterals for specific purposes (US$32 million, 13%). Canada’s use of earmarked funds has varied in recent years, climbing from US$24 million in 2017 (10% of ODA for agriculture) to US$75 million in 2018 (28%), before falling dramatically in 2019. Agricultural development received the largest share of Canada’s bilateral ODA for agriculture (18%). Food crop production, agricultural extension, agricultural education, and training each received 9%.

Core funding to multilaterals accounted for 37% (US$91 million) of Canada’s funding for agriculture in 2019, which is the largest share multilaterals have received from Canada in recent years (2015-2018 average: 28%) though the growth in Canada’s core funding to multilaterals is likely the result of the timing of disbursements rather than an indication of policy change. Disbursements to the International Development Association (IDA) accounted for roughly 20% of Canada’s ODA to agriculture in 2019 (US$48 million).

In Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), agriculture falls mainly under the action area ‘growth that works for everyone’. The policy frames food security and agriculture within the larger lens of women’s economic empowerment and gender-inclusive climate change mitigation. In line with its prioritization of climate-smart agriculture, this sector received the largest share (38%) of Canada’s climate-related commitments in 2019 (see sector: ‘Climate’). Given the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on global agriculture systems and food security, and the Canadian government has also made commitments related to agriculture as part of its international response.

Several GAC branches are involved in decision-making on agriculture

Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) steers development policy, including for agriculture. Within GAC, key branches for agriculture-related programs are the GAC’s four geographic branches (Americas; Asia Pacific; Europe, Middle East and the Maghreb; and ‘sub-Saharan Africa’, meaning the countries of Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa, according to the African Union’s designation), which manage bilateral country programs. In addition, the Food Security and Environment Branch and the Economic Development Branches are key players in the development of Canada’s agriculture-related strategies and policies. The Global Issues and Development Branch manages relations with multilateral agricultural initiatives.

In addition to GAC, Canada’s International Development Research Institute (IDRC) also plays an important role. GAC and the IDRC jointly fund the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, which supports research partnerships between organizations from Canada and low-income countries. The IDRC also runs an agriculture and food security program that supports innovation for more efficient and sustainable, gender-responsive agricultural production.