ODA to agriculture has decreased since 2014
In 2016 (latest year for which complete data is available), France’s official development assistance (ODA) for agriculture and rural development stood at US$713 million. This represented 6% of France’s total ODA, just below what members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) spend on average in this sector (7%). Against the backdrop of France’s focus on climate-related programs, and more specifically of its climate-adaptation agenda, ODA to the agriculture sector is expected to increase in coming years, driven by higher funding for adaptation.
France’s support to agriculture has three main goals:
- Support the economic integration of rural territories;
- Provide assistance in the development and implementation of public policies; and
- Allow for the development of a sustainable, productive, and profitable agriculture.
According to the latest Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID), these goals will be achieved by focusing on nutrition and agro-ecology, as well as pursuing a territorial approach of agricultural supply chains. Geographically, sub-Saharan Africa is France’s priority, with a particular focus on West Africa.
France prefers to channel its agriculture ODA bilaterally. Core contributions to multilaterals represented less than half (45%) of France’s total ODA to the sector in 2016 (US$321 million), on par with the DAC average. This mainly comprised assessed contributions to the EU (30% of France’s total ODA to agriculture and rural development), and to the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA; 7%). According to the February 2018 CICID, France will reinforce its financial support to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Program (WFP) through its operations in the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions. Investments such as these are considered by the government as contributing to the stabilization of the Sahel region.
Bilateral ODA for agriculture and rural development increased by 51% between 2016 and 2017 (latest year for which bilateral data is available), reaching US$590 million (from US$392 million). This increase is mainly due to a new US$169-million loan to in Turkey focused on forestry policy and administrative management. Due to this large project, the share of bilateral assistance going to forestry policy and administrative management went up to 29% of bilateral ODA in 2017. This sector was followed by agricultural research, a traditional focus area for France (25% of bilateral ODA).
France provides substantial R&D funding to French research organizations, including the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), the largest agricultural research institute in Europe (2017 budget: €851 million, or US$959 million) and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD, €198 million in 2017, or US$223 million).
The MAE’s sub-directorate for human development leads on agriculture
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAE) develops all strategies for French development policy, including agriculture. Within the MAE, strategic priorities are defined within the Directorate-General for Globalization, Culture, Education, and International Development (DGM). The most relevant sub-department is the ‘Sub-directorate for Human Development’ (HUMA). Further strategic priorities are spelled out in the French Development Agency’s (AFD’s) sectorial documents. With regard to agriculture, the most relevant AFD department is ‘Agriculture, Rural Development and Biodiversity’, which is part of the ‘Sustainable Development’ division.