Netherlands - Nutrition

Food security is one of the Netherland’s long-standing development priorities

Food security is one of four main themes of Dutch development cooperation policy, according to the government’s strategy paper, ‘Investing in Global Prospects’, published in 2018. According to the government’s budget, funding for food security stands at €339 million (US$400 million) in 2020. Eliminating hunger and malnutrition is one of the three priorities of the Netherlands’ overall strategy for food security. Against this backdrop, the Netherlands aims to lift 32 million people (especially children) out of undernourishment by 2030.

The Dutch government integrates a gender equality dimension into its food security programs. In line with the Netherlands’s overall focus on sexual and reproductive health, a specific priority is the nutritional status of adolescents, and particularly girls of reproductive age (given the importance of nutrition during pregnancy). Key commitments by the Netherlands include a pledge of €300 million (US$354 million) to the Nutrition for Growth Initiative (N4G; 2013-2020), with funds equally split between nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific interventions. According to N4G’s 2019 report, the Netherlands is on track to meet their commitment and had, in fact, exceeded the average annual disbursements needed to reach the target by the end of 2020. In 2017 (the latest year for which data is available), the Netherlands disbursed US$60 million as nutrition-sensitive investments, of which US$20 million was reported as ‘basic nutrition’ (nutrition-specific) to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In 2018, this funding increased to US$63 million.


  • Nutrition-specific: interventions with primary objective to improve nutrition (i.e., support for exclusive breastfeeding, supplementary feeding, etc.)
  • Nutrition sensitive: interventions addressing underlying causes of malnutrition and consider cross-sector impacts (i.e., improve access to diverse diet, etc.)


During the 2019 UN General Assembly meeting in New York City, the Netherlands also announced that they would reorient €100 million (US$118 million) towards more productive, adaptive, and resilient food systems. The Netherlands also increased its contribution to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) to €50 million (US $59 million) over two years (2020-2021). The country’s work with CGIAR initiatives includes a strong focus on developing public-private partnerships (PPPs), pursuing research that supports the SDGs, including efforts to help women farmers, and emphasizing the role of urban and rural consumers in achieving sustainable food systems.

The Netherlands implements a multi-stakeholder approach to ODA for nutrition, combining government, civil society, the private sector, and knowledge institutes. This public-private partnership (PPP) approach is also known as the ‘Dutch Diamond’. The main PPP within the field of nutrition is the Amsterdam Initiative Against Malnutrition (AIM). It aims to leverage the experience of Dutch companies in the food and nutrition industries across all stages of the food value chain to ensure sustainable improvements in nutrition in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and South Africa.

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 Directorate of Inclusive Green Growth (IGG) focuses on policies related to food security, climate, water, energy, and natural resources. The directorate includes a specific thematic cluster on food security.