Netherlands - Agriculture
At a glance
Agriculture is not a funding priority for the Netherlands but is incorporated into different sectors
Agriculture and rural development have not traditionally been among the main thematic priorities of Dutch development assistance. Within policymaking, agriculture is not seen as a single component, but rather as one intertwined with food security, water management, and climate protection. The current coalition government, in office since 2017, has committed to making agriculture a priority area in the field of poverty reduction.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s (OECD) data, official development assistance (ODA) to agriculture and rural development stood at US$480 million in 2016 (the latest year for which both bilateral and multilateral data is available). This represented 9% of total ODA, above the average among members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of 7%.
In 2016, 36% of the Netherlands’ ODA to agriculture was provided as core contributions to multilateral organizations, mainly assessed contributions to the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA; 46% of total core contributions to multalterals), EU institutions (31%), and funding to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD; 14%. More recent multilateral commitments include a 2017 pledge to the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) of €80 million (US$90 million) for 2017 to 2021. Also in 2017, the headquarters of CCAFS (CGIAR' Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) opened at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
In 2016, the Netherlands channeled 64% of its agriculture ODA bilaterally (US$305 million; above the DAC average of 55%). After a drop in 2017, bilateral ODA rose again to similar levels in 2018 (US$296 million). In 2018, spending was focused on agricultural development (18% of bilateral agriculture ODA), food crop production (16%), rural development (15%), and agricultural research (10%). Parts of this bilateral funding is earmarked funding through multilaterals: in 2016, this type of funding represented 24% of total agriculture ODA (DAC average: 12%)
The May 2018 policy note ‘Investing in Global Prospects: For the World, For the Netherlands’ released by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag, outlines a commitment combatting hunger and malnutrition and improving agricultural productivity. In particular, the Dutch government works with local, international, and Dutch partners on innovative, environmentally sustainable solutions to boost productivity and revenues. The Netherlands aims to double the productivity and revenues of at least eight million farms by 2030. New and existing Dutch programs in this area will increasingly target the focus regions West African Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA; for detailed information on Dutch focus regions see ‘ODA breakdown’). The Netherlands will continue to invest in strengthening farmers’ organizations, land rights, and agricultural research.
In the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the MENA region, the Netherlands will help crop farmers and livestock farmers resist the effects of climate change through innovative programs such as Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) and Toward Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship (2Scale). Funding for civil society organizations (CSOs) is channeled through the Strategic Partnerships (mostly for advocacy work) and the Facility for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Food Security (FDOV), which is administered by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The facility aims at stimulating sustainable economic development through public-private partnerships.
Priority countries for bilateral cooperation on agriculture:
- Food security: Burundi Ethiopia, Great Lakes region, Rwanda, Uganda
- Water: Bangladesh, Benin, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, South Sudan
The Directorate of Inclusive Green Growth (IGG) is responsible for policies related to food security
Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) is responsible for designing and coordinating the implementation of Dutch development policy. Within DGIS, the Department of Inclusive Green Growth (IGG) focuses on policies related to food security, climate, water, energy, natural resources, and the arctic. IGG includes a specific thematic cluster on food security. The Sustainable Economic Development Department within DGIS supports farmer cooperatives in low-income countries.