Issue Deep Dive

Germany / Agriculture

Last updated: October 12, 2023


Most of Germany’s funding related to climate change adaption is anchored in agriculture or rural and urban development projects. The focus on agriculture is reflected in BMZ’s special initiative and core topic Life without Hunger – Transformation of agricultural and food systems, where climate-smart agriculture is prioritized, with a focus is on LDCs and SIDS.

Germany aims to fulfill the vision of the InsuResilience Global Partnership to provide climate insurance to 500 million vulnerable people and to build resilient infrastructure (water, agriculture) to help communities increase their climate resilience. However, the strategy does not lay out in detail what concrete goals and milestones the BMZ is pursuing in climate adaptation going forward.

The main adaptation topics within BMZ are water-resource management, climate-resilient agriculture, and climate insurance. Events focused on other sectors but that link to the topic of adaptation such as agriculture or water are also key, including the World Water Forum, Food Systems Summit, and International Green Week Berlin.

ODA Spending

ODA In Context

Germany was the largest DAC donor to agriculture initiatives in 2021.

Despite being the largest donor in absolute terms, Germany’s relative prioritization of agriculture in 2021 was on average for DAC donors in that year (6% of ODA), ranking 13th among donors.

Germany’s funding to agriculture has increased by 31% since 2017, especially between 2019 and 2020, when it rose by 30%. This was driven by an increase in earmarked funding through multilaterals from US$142 million in 2019 to US$422 million in 2020. This has also been driven by the prioritization of certain issues, notably food security and increased self-sufficiency, in partner regions. In line with its prioritization of bilateral funding (including earmarked funding through multilaterals), Germany channeled only 34% of agriculture ODA in 2021 as core funding to multilaterals, which is below the DAC average of 49%.

ODA Breakdown

Bilateral Spending

Bilateral channels are Germany’s preferred funding mechanism for agriculture. Within its special initiative, Life without Hunger, the BMZ focuses on global food security and enhancing agricultural resilience, as well as rural development. Accordingly, 35% of bilateral funding in total went to agricultural development and rural development in 2021.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

Most of Germany’s ODA to agriculture that was channeled as core funding to multilaterals in 2021 was provided to the GCF (42%). The EU institutions were the second-largest recipients (23%).

In addition, Germany supports CGIAR and GAFSP. While these are multilateral organizations, the funding is included in Germany’s earmarked bilateral ODA due to OECD classifications. In October 2020, the BMZ hosted GAFSP’s 2020-2025 replenishment kick-off and pledged US$228 million. On the sidelines of the World Bank Annual Meeting in Washington in October 2022, Germany announced that it will increase contributions to GAFSP by US$63 million in 2022.

The table below summarizes Germany’s recent commitments to multilaterals working on agricultural development. Some of these commitments are considered core funding to multilaterals, while others will are earmarked as bilateral funding from Germany.

Funding and Policy Outlook

Prioritizing food and nutrition security, rural development: Agriculture was one of the strategic priorities of former Development Minister Gerd Müller, who in 2014 launched ONE WORLD - No Hunger. The program is focused on food and nutrition security and rural development and is carried forward in the 2021-2025 legislative term under Development Minister Svenja Schulze under the new title Transformation of agricultural and food systems. The special initiative is being implemented through official and non-governmental development cooperation, as well as through multilateral partners. Life without Hunger – Transformation of agricultural and food systems’ is also one of the six core themes within the BMZ’s Agenda 2030 thematic model’.

The core theme focuses on the following priorities:

  • Food and nutrition security;
  • Agricultural innovation;
  • Rural development; and
  • Sustainable agriculture value chains and food systems.

Increased focus on food security: Due to the impact of the war in Ukraine on food security, the issue has receives more attention from the BMZ in the context of Germany’s G7 presidency. German development minister Svenja Schulze proposed a Global Alliance for Food Security that can respond in an agile and coordinated way to the hunger crisis triggered by the Russian war in Ukraine at the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington in April 2022. The alliance was launched on May 19, 2022, during the meeting of the G7 development ministers.

Supporting smallholder farmers: Support for smallholder farmers is a strategic priority for Germany, particularly in the context of gender equality. This support aims to increase agricultural sustainability and productivity and to improve adaptation to climate change. Within this strategic priority, Germany hopes to foster innovation along the agricultural value chain with a focus on fair and secure tenure and land-use rights. Additionally, Germany prioritizes resilience against famine by incentivizing small-scale farmers to shift from subsistence farming to producing a marketable surplus.

Key bodies

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Kristin Laub

Kristin Laub

Kristin Laub

Kristin Laub

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