Funding has increased, focus is on promoting sustainable agriculture production
Japan’s total official development assistance (ODA) for agriculture (including forestry and fishing) and rural development was US$1.1 billion in 2016 (the latest year for which complete data is available). This made Japan the third-largest donor to the sector among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), and is a 15% increase compared to 2015, when Japan spent US$934 million of its ODA on this sector. Funding for agriculture and rural development represented 7% of Japan’s total ODA in 2016, a share that is on par with the DAC average. Agriculture is not among Japan’s global development priorities.
Multilateral ODA to agriculture stood at US$260 million in 2016. This was a quarter (24%) of total agriculture ODA. The main recipient was the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA): Assessed contributions to IDA made up most of Japan’s multilateral ODA to agriculture (US$189 million; 73% of multilateral ODA to agriculture, and 18% of total agriculture ODA). Other recipients included regional development banks, as well as the Asian Development Bank and the Global Environment Facility.
Japan joined the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) in 2012, pledging US$30 million to GAFSP’s private sector window. At the end of 2016, Japan had disbursed the full amount. No further pledges or disbursements have been made.
Japan’s bilateral agriculture ODA in 2017 (the latest year for which bilateral data is available) was US$813 million. This is about the same level as 2016 (US$811 million). Fishery development received the largest share of funding (20% in 2017), which until 2016 barely received any agriculture ODA (it received just 2% in 2015). The next largest subsector to receive funding in 2017 was by agricultural water resources (15%), agricultural policy and administrative management (15%), and rural development (11%). Most of the country’s bilateral ODA for agriculture and rural development is channeled through the Japan Agency for International Cooperation (JICA). JICA focuses particularly on promoting sustainable agriculture production, stable food supply, and dynamic rural communities. Japan has historically supported small-scale farming and is likely to continue to do so.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs steers strategic orientation for agriculture ODA; JICA leads on implementation
Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA), the ‘Development Assistance Policy Coordination Division’ directs agriculture and rural development ODA strategy. JICA’s ‘Rural Development Department’ and relevant geographic departments share responsibility for implementing agriculture development activities.