Canada - Agriculture
At a glance
Gender is a focus; portfolio is expected to expand due to links to climate change and green economy
Canada views food security and agriculture within the larger lens of women’s economic empowerment and gender-inclusive climate change mitigation. Canada plans to integrate its food security policies into a more comprehensive approach for stimulating clean and sustainable economic growth.
Canadian official development assistance (ODA) to agriculture (including forestry and fishing) and rural development stood at US$297 million in 2016 (the latest year for which multilateral and bilateral OECD data is available). This represented 7% of its total ODA, a share on par with the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) average. Although more recent OECD data is not available, data from the Canadian International Development Platform suggests that 6% of disbursements from Global Affairs Canada in FY2018/19 were channeled toward this sector.
In 2016, multilateral ODA made up 33% (US$99 million) of Canada’s total ODA to agriculture and rural development; however, a large share of funding was disbursed as earmarked funding through multilaterals (18% of total agriculture ODA), which is counted as bilateral funding. The remaining 49% of funding was channeled bilaterally.
Between 2016 and 2018, Canada’s earmarked funding through multilaterals increased by 42% (to US$76 million) after a significant dip in 2017 (to US$24 million). Other bilateral funds decreased by 11% over the same period, to US$129 million in 2018.
In 2018, 19% of bilateral funding to agriculture was spent on ‘agricultural alternative development’ which describes efforts to reduce the cultivation of illicit drugs by providing other agricultural marketing and production opportunities. 2018 was the first year that Canada directed funding toward this subsector. Agricultural development accounted for 12% of disbursements (US$24 million), while Agricultural policy and administrative management received 10% of Canada’s funds to agriculture in 2018 (US$20 million).
In May and June 2019, Canada made three notable agriculture-related investments. FinDev (Canada’s development finance institution), loaned US$8 million to a leading Peruvian agricultural producer to promote a more sustainable and inclusive agribusiness sector in Peru. The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) also announced CAD21 million (US$16 million) in funding for research to fight antimicrobial resistance in livestock and aquaculture production, particularly in low and middle-income countries, and CAD6 million (US$5 million) for research projects working to empower women in the livestock vaccine value chain.
As of December 2017, Canada was the second-largest contributor to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) having provided a total of US$202 million between 2010 and 2017. As of December 2019, Canada fell to the third-largest donor. Canada also makes contributions to the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). In July 2017, the government announced US$38 million in funding over five years for an integrated resilience program run by UN agencies including IFAD, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Food Programme (WFP).
There has been growing international concern about the impact of COVID-19 on global agriculture and food security, and the Canadian government recognizes the threat this crisis poses to agricultural systems and global nutrition. Of the approximately CAD160 million (US$123 million) Canada committed in emergency funding for COVID-19, CAD14 million (US$11 million) will go toward the World Food Programme and CAD2 million (US$1.5 million) will go toward the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
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), 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. Moreover, the Global Issues and Development Branch manages relations with multilateral agricultural initiatives.
In addition to GAC, Canada’s 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 agricultural production to enhance food security, incomes, and nutrition that benefit small-scale farmers, particularly women.