United Kingdom - Agriculture

The UK supports economic growth and poverty reduction through agriculture and agro-industry

The UK spent US$899 million or 3% of its total ODA on agriculture in 2020. This makes the UK the fifth-largest contributor to the agricultural sector in absolute terms. As a share of total ODA, the UK puts less emphasis on agriculture than other DAC donors. It spent 5% of its total ODA on agriculture in 2020 (DAC average: 6%). The UK is only the 26th-largest contributor to the agriculture sector in relative terms. The UK’s prioritization of agriculture as a share of total ODA has remained relatively consistent over the last five years, staying between 5% and 6% from 2016 - 2020.

Going forward, the UK is likely to support agriculture but increasingly as part of its work on tackling climate change and protecting biodiversity. The UK's 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, identifies climate change and biodiversity as the UK’s number one international priority moving forward. Agriculture is mentioned here with regard to adaptation and ensuring the sustainability of natural resources. Climate change is also a priority for the UK’s international development strategy. The strategy reiterates the UK’s commitment to double its International Climate Finance (ICF) contribution to at least £11.6 billion (US$15.6 billion) between 2021-2026 and commits to ensuring that this funding is equally split between mitigation and adaptation finance. ICF is a specific UK government investment to support developing countries in responding to the challenges and opportunities of climate change. The government funds ICF exclusively through its ODA budget and has ring-fenced this funding, protecting it from ODA budget cuts. The strategy also commits the UK to ensure all new bilateral ODA is aligned with the Paris Agreement.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) FY2021/22 spending on climate and biodiversity is set at £534 million (US$685 million), or 7% of total UK ODA, with climate-related activities across all sectors totaling upwards of £941 million (US$1.2 billion) in the same year. At COP26, The UK government announced £500 million to support the implementation of the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Roadmap, which works to protect forests and promote development and trade, £65 million to support the ‘Just Rural Transition,’ which helps transition countries to more sustainable agricultural production, and launched ClimateShot with CGIAR, which aims to close the innovation gap in agriculture.


In 2020, US$407 million, or 45%, of the UK’s ODA for agriculture was disbursed through bilateral channels including as earmarked funding through multilaterals, below the DAC average of 56%. Bilateral funding to agriculture fluctuated in the last five years from its peak of US$615 million or 54% share of total ODA to agriculture in 2017 to its lowest point of US$407 million or 45% share of total ODA to agriculture in 2020. The UK focuses its bilateral agricultural funding on ‘agricultural research’ (27%), as well as ‘foresty policy and administrative management’ and ‘agricultural development’ (both at 23%). Bilateral funding to agriculture has fluctuated in size and share of ODA from 2016 - 2020.

Core contributions to multilaterals in 2020 accounted for US$492 million or 55% of the UK’s ODA to agriculture, above the DAC average of 47%. The largest recipients of the UK’s multilateral financing for agriculture were the Green Climate Fund (GCF; 18%), EU institutions (16%), and the International Development Association (IDA; 16%). Funding to GCF jumped dramatically given the UK’s announcement of a £1.4 billion (US$1.8 billion) pledge to the fund from 2020-2024, so this funding will remain consistent over the next few years. Funding for EU institutions and the IDA declined in 2020, but the large jump in funding to GCF helped to increase multilateral ODA by 9% from 2019.

The FCDO is responsible for determining the UK’s agricultural development agenda

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) sets the strategic direction for the UK’s agriculture development agenda and is responsible for administering the majority of the UK’s agricultural ODA. Agriculture ODA is managed by the FCDO’s Director-General of the Indo-Pacific region who is also responsible for economic development and under the Director-General for Africa. Finally, agricultural research ODA is managed by the FCDO’s Research and Evidence Division in coordination with the two teams noted above.