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 2020 was US$1.2 billion, making France the second-largest Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor to this sector. This represented 7% of France’s total ODA, just above the DAC average of 6%. 19% of funding was channeled to multilaterals and 73% of funding was provided bilaterally (including 19% as earmarked funding to multilateral organizations). 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.  


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 (agroecology);
  3.  Strengthening France’s action on nutrition, focusing especially on malnutrition in young children and pregnant and breastfeeding women;
  4.  Restructuring sustainable agri-food sectors to promote job creation in rural areas with a focus on youth; and
  5.  Strengthening food assistance actions for vulnerable populations and improving resilience to food insecurity, whether in emergency or chronic food insecurity contexts.

According to the latest Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID), these goals will be achieved by focusing on nutrition and agroecology, in addition to pursuing a territorial approach of agricultural supply chains. Geographically, ‘sub-Saharan Africa’ (SSA; meaning the countries of Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa, as designated by the African Union (AU)) is France’s priority, with a focus on West Africa. 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 Programme (WFP) through its operations in the ‘Sahel’ and ‘Horn of Africa’ regions. These types of investments are intended to contribute to stabilization in the Sahel region. The international strategy for food security stipulates France will earmark 50% of program food assistance funding for nutrition. In response to the Russian war in Ukraine, Macron announced the launch of the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) initiative in March 2022 in conjunction with the EU, G7, and AU, targeting food insecurity in vulnerable countries.  

France prefers to channel its agriculture ODA bilaterally. Core contributions to multilaterals represented about one-quarter (27%) of France’s total ODA to the sector in 2020 (US$334 million), below the DAC average of 47% and mainly comprising assessed contributions to the EU (18% of total ODA to agriculture) and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA; 5%).

France has increasingly emphasized biodiversity, sustainable agro-systems, and the broader nexus of agriculture and adaptation to climate change, supported by a range of new pledges. In February 2021, France signed an agreement to reinforce its collaboration with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), aiming to support research for agricultural and rural development in low-income countries and allocating around €12 million (US$14 million) to CGIAR between 2021-2023. During the ‘2021 One Planet Summit on Biodiversity,’ Macron announced that France would increase its funding to the International Fund for Africultural Development (IFAD) by 50%. Additionally, at the EU-AU summit in 2022, France co-launched an EU-AU initiative to accelerate the transformation of African food systems toward sustainable models, with a focus on developing protein sources. Most recently, during the 2022 G7 process, President Macron announced that France will double its contribution to food security to €700 million (US$ 798 million), of which €150 million (US$ 171 million) are allocated to the World Food Program (WFP).

In 2020, bilateral agriculture ODA reached US$901 million, increasing by 56% compared to 2019 (US$579 million). This was mainly due to a significant increase in spending on agricultural development, from US$61 million in 2019 to US$362 million in 2020, or 40% of bilateral agriculture ODA. Other key sub-sectors include ‘agricultural research’ (17% of bilateral agriculture ODA), ‘rural development’ (15%), and ‘forestry policy and administrative management’ (10%).

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) in 2021. Another key player is the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), which received €200 million (US$224 million) in 2021. 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.