Netherlands - Agriculture





Agriculture is not a 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 an individual component, but rather as one intertwined with food security, water management, and climate protection. At the 2019 UN General Assembly, the Netherlands announced that it would reshuffle €100 million (US$114 million) toward supporting food systems for productivity and resilience. In September 2021, the Netherlands pledged €75 million (US$85 million) to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) for 2022-2024 to help develop sustainable food systems, support smallholder farms, and improve water management. The Netherlands’ official development assistance (ODA) to agriculture and rural development stood at US$390 million in 2020. This represented 8% of total ODA, slightly above the 6% average among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Total Dutch ODA to agriculture has remained relatively stable since 2016.  

In 2020, 31% of the Netherlands’ ODA to agriculture was provided as core contributions to multilateral organizations, mainly to the EU Institutions (EUI; 14% of agriculture ODA), and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA; 7%).  

In 2020, the Netherlands channeled 72% of its agriculture ODA bilaterally (US$280 million), above the DAC average of 53%, with spending focused on ‘agricultural development’ (30% of bilateral agriculture ODA), ‘agricultural research’ (13%), ‘food crop production’ (12%), and ‘agricultural education/training’ (9%). Part of this bilateral funding is earmarked funding through multilaterals; in 2020, this type of funding represented 20% of total agriculture ODA (DAC average: 12%).  

The June 2022 policy strategy ‘Doing What the Netherlands is Good At,’ released by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher, underlines the Netherlands’ continued focus on agriculture. In particular, the Dutch government works with local, international, and Dutch partners on innovative, environmentally sustainable solutions to boost productivity and revenues. New and existing Dutch programs in this area will increasingly target the Netherlands’ focus regions: the ‘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. The Dutch Digital Agenda for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, released in July 2019, calls for the Netherlands to position itself as an ‘international frontrunner’ in food and agriculture digitalization.  

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.