Germany - Agriculture


Fighting hunger and malnutrition are top German priorities; Germany is the largest government donor to agriculture

In 2020, Germany spent US$1.8 billion of its official development assistance (ODA) on agriculture, making it the largest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor to agriculture in absolute terms. However, this spending only represented 6% of Germany’s total ODA in that year (on par with the DAC average of 6.4%) putting Germany at 22nd in relative terms. Funding for the sector has increased by 38% since 2016, especially between 2019 and 2020 when it increased by 29%.

Bilateral channels are Germany’s preferred funding mechanism for this sector; 75% of Germany’s ODA to agriculture was directed bilaterally in 2020 (DAC average: 53%). The largest shares of bilateral funding in 2020 went to agricultural development (28%), rural development (15%), and agricultural financial services (13%). Part of bilateral funding is earmarked funding through multilaterals; in 2020, this represented 22% of total agriculture ODA (DAC average: 12%). Only 25% of Germany’s ODA to agriculture was channeled as core funding to multilaterals in 2020 (DAC average: 47%), with by far the largest recipient being EU institutions (15% of total agriculture ODA), followed by the International Development Bank (IDA; 4%), and the African Development Fund (1%).

Germany’s overall bilateral development financing focuses on sub-Saharan Africa (meaning the countries of Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa, according to the African Union’s designations), Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with agriculture funding specifically focused on countries in sub-Saharan Africa. 

In recent years, Germany has contributed to the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR; €35 million or US$40 million in both 2020 and 2021) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP; €100 million or US$114 million in 2020). At GAFSP’s 2020-2025 replenishment kick-off in October 2020, which was hosted by the BMZ, Germany pledged €200 million (US$235 million according to GAFSP’s conversion rate) to GAFSP’s overall replenishment target of US$1.5 billion over five years. On the sidelines of the World Bank Annual Meeting in Washington in October 2022, Germany announced that it will contribute another €60 million (US$68 million) to GAFSP in 2022. Even though CGIAR and GAFSP are multilateral organizations, this funding is included in Germany’s earmarked bilateral ODA to agriculture since the OECD does not consider these to be core contributions to multilateral organizations working on agriculture.

Agriculture was one of the strategic priorities of former Development Minister Gerd Müller, who in 2014 launched ‘ONE WORLD - No Hunger’, a ‘Special Initiative’ on food and nutrition security as well as rural development, which will be carried forward in this legislative term (2021-2025) under new Development Minister Svenja Schulze. The initiative focuses on the following priorities: 1) food and nutrition security, 2) famine prevention and resilience-building, 3) innovation in and growth of the agricultural and food sectors, 4) structural transformation in rural areas, 5) natural resource protection, and 6) secure access to land. The Special Initiative is being implemented through official and non-governmental development cooperation, as well as through multilateral partners. According to the BMZ’s latest reform program (launched in May 2020), ‘ONE WORLD – No Hunger’ is one of the BMZ’s five key thematic priorities, which are meant to remain consistent over multiple legislative periods.

Support for smallholder farmers is a strategic priority, and Germany places a special focus on women in this context. This support aims to make agriculture more productive and sustainable, 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, as well as ensure resilience against famine, with small-scale farmers incentivized to move from subsistence farming to producing a marketable surplus.

BMZ is responsible for agriculture policy broadly, including Special Initiative ‘ONE WORLD - No Hunger’; the BMEL represents Germany at FAO

The BMZ leads on developing strategies for development cooperation policies. It works closely with the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL), which represents Germany at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and drives cooperation with the organization (the BMZ leads on the relationship with WFP and IFAD). Within the BMZ, the directorate on ‘Decent work worldwide; food security’ is responsible for developing strategies on agriculture.