Netherlands - Nutrition

Food security is a long-standing Dutch development priority

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. Budget documents suggest funding for food security stands at €321 million (US$359 million) in 2021. Eliminating hunger and malnutrition is one of the three priorities of the Netherlands’ overall strategy for food security. 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, it prioritizes the nutritional status of adolescents, particularly girls of reproductive age (given the importance of nutrition during pregnancy). Key commitments by the Netherlands include a pledge of US$336 million to the Nutrition for Growth Initiative (N4G; 2013-2020), with funds equally split between nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific interventions (see box). In 2017 (the latest year for which data is available), the Netherlands disbursed US$56 million as nutrition-sensitive investments according to the 2020 Global Nutrition Report. Funding for ‘basic nutrition’ (nutrition-specific) as reported to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) increased from US$19 million in 2018 to US$61 million in 2019, before falling again to US$30 million in 2019.


  • 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 United Nations (UN) General Assembly meeting in New York City, the Netherlands announced that they would reorient €100 million (US$111 million) towards more productive, adaptive, and resilient food systems. The Netherlands also increased its contribution to the multilateral agricultural research network CGIAR to €50 million (US$56 million) over two years (2020-2021; see sector ‘Agriculture’).

The Netherlands implements a multi-stakeholder approach to ODA for nutrition, combining government, civil society, the private sector, and knowledge institutes. The 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.