Canada - Agriculture

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

Canada spent US$354 million of its total official development assistance (ODA) on agriculture (including forestry and fishing) and rural development in 2020 making it the ninth-largest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor that year. This represents a 46% increase in funding over 2019 levels driven by enormous growth in earmarked funding to multilateral organizations. This growth may be related to the Canadian government’s commitments to agriculture as part of its effort to temper the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on global agriculture systems and food security. Canada’s funding for agriculture accounted for 7% of its ODA in 2020 just above the DAC average of 6%. This made it the 11th largest donor in relative terms.

80% of Canada’s disbursements for agriculture were considered bilateral in 2020, including funding channeled bilaterally (US$97 million or 28%) and earmarked funding channeled through multilaterals for specific purposes (US$187 million, 53%). Canada’s use of earmarked funds skyrocketed in 2020 from just US$32 million in 2019, an increase of 479%, likely related to Canada’s COVID-19 response. Forestry development received the largest share of Canada’s bilateral ODA for agriculture in 2020 (14%). Agricultural development received 12%, followed by rural development (11%), agricultural co-operatives (9%), and agricultural education/training (9%).

Core funding to multilaterals accounted for 20% (US$70 million) of Canada’s funding for agriculture in 2020, a decline compared to recent years (2016-2019 average: 30%). Disbursements to the International Development Association (IDA) accounted for roughly 12% of Canada’s ODA to agriculture in 2020 (US$43 million). The African Development Fund received 3% (US$11 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 second-largest share (32%) of Canada’s climate-related commitments in 2020 (see sector: ‘Climate’).

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.