France - Agriculture

Bilateral ODA agriculture has increased since 2016

According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data, France’s total official development assistance (ODA) to agriculture and rural development in 2019 was US$907 million, making France the fifth-largest Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor to this sector. This represented 6% of France’s total ODA, just below the DAC average of 7%. 39% was channeled to multilaterals and 61% of funds were provided bilaterally. Against the backdrop of France’s focus on climate-related programs, and more specifically of its climate-adaptation agenda, ODA to the agriculture sector could increase in coming years, driven by higher funding for adaptation.  

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According to France’s International Strategy for Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Agriculture (2019-2024), France has five main goals:

  1. Strengthening global governance of food security and nutrition;
  2. Developing sustainable agricultural and food systems;
  3. Strengthening France’s action on nutrition;
  4. Supporting the structuring of sustainable agri-food chains to promote the creation of decent jobs in rural areas; and
  5. Enhancing food assistance for vulnerable populations and improving resilience.

According to the latest Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID), these goals will be achieved by focusing on nutrition and agroecology, as well as pursuing a territorial approach of agricultural supply chains. Geographically, ‘sub-Saharan Africa’ (meaning the countries of Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa, as designated by the African Union) is France’s priority, with a focus on West Africa.

France prefers to channel its agriculture ODA bilaterally. Core contributions to multilaterals represented less than half (39%) of France’s total ODA to the sector in 2019 (US$353 million), on par with the DAC average and mainly comprising assessed contributions to the EU and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).

According to the 2018 CICID conclusions, France will reinforce its financial support to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Program (WFP) through its operations in the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions. Investments such as these are considered by the government as contributing to the stabilization of the Sahel region. In 2019, France provided US$182 million to IFAD (a 43% increase from 2018), US$21 million to FAO (from US$15 million in 2018).

Bilateral ODA for agriculture and rural development stood at US$555 million in 2019, an 8%-decrease from 2018. Most of this funding went to agriculture research (26%), followed by rural development (20%), and forestry policy and administrative management which increased from US$2 million in 2018 to US$85 million in 2019  (15%).

France provides substantial research and development (R&D) funding to French research organizations, including the new National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE), the largest agricultural research institute in Europe, with an annual budget of €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion). Another key player is the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), which received €200 million (US$224 million) in 2019. By law, France is not allowed to fund or promote genetically modified organisms (GMO), land-grabbing, or privatization of local communities’ natural resources.

The MAE’s sub-directorate for human development leads on agriculture

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAE) develops all strategies for French development policy, including agriculture. Within the MAE, strategic priorities are defined within the Directorate-General for Globalization, Culture, Education, and International Development (DGM). The most relevant sub-department is the ‘Sub-directorate for Human Development’ (HUMA). Further strategic priorities are spelled out in the French Development Agency’s (AFD’s) sectorial documents. Regarding agriculture, the most relevant AFD department is ‘Agriculture, Rural Development and Biodiversity’, which is part of the ‘Sustainable Development’ division.