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 increased to US$447 million in 2016 (the latest year for which complete data is available), from US$336 million in 2015. This represented 9% of total ODA, above the average among members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of 7%.
Dutch ODA to agriculture has been steadily increasing since 2014 when it amounted to US$313 million. In 2016, the Netherlands provided US$163 million of its funding to agriculture and rural development as multilateral ODA. This corresponds to 36% of total ODA to agriculture. These multilateral contributions mainly took the form of assessed contributions to the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA, 17% of total agriculture ODA), EU institutions (11%), and funding to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD, 5%).
The Netherlands launched a strategic partnership on food security with the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) in 2015. It focuses on climate-smart agriculture, nutrition, water use, and biodiversity. In July 2017, the Netherlands announced a new commitment to CGIAR of €80 million (US$90 million) for 2017 to 2021. 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 (above the DAC average of 55%). Parts of this bilateral funding is earmarked funding through multilaterals: in 2016, this type of funding represented 25% of total agriculture ODA (DAC average: 12%). Between 2016 and 2017, bilateral funding went down from US$284 million to US$248 million, with decreases spread across the different sub-sectors. In 2017, spending focused on agricultural development (24%), food crop production (16%), rural development (13%), and agricultural research (11%).
The Netherlands aims to double the productivity and revenues of at least eight million farms by 2030.
As outlined in 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, the Netherlands is making an important contribution to combating hunger and malnutrition and improving agricultural productivity. In particular, the Dutch government is working with local, international, and Dutch partners on innovative, climate-smart solutions to boost productivity and revenues. For example, 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 Key Question 3: ‘How does the Netherlands spend its ODA?’). 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 Initiative (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 developing countries.
- Government of the Netherlands; Coalition Agreement 'Confidence in the Future'; 2017
- Government of the Netherlands; Investing in Global Prospects - For the World, For the Netherlands; 2018
- MFA; HGIS-nota 2019 Homogene Groep Internationale Samenwerking; 2018 (in Dutch)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Public Private Partnership - The Dutch Diamond Approach; 2013 (in Dutch)
Civil society sources