Norway - Agriculture
At a glance
Focus is on food security, climate-smart agriculture and sustainable fishing
According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data, US$142 million of Norway’s ODA was spent on agriculture, forestry, fishing, and rural development in 2016 (the latest year for which multilateral and bilateral OECD data is available). This corresponded to 3% of its ODA, below the 7% average among members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). A dip in funding for agriculture in 2016 was due to lower bilateral disbursements across almost all agricultural sub-sectors.
Since 2016, bilateral ODA to agriculture increased, reaching US$124 million in 2017 and US$109 million in 2018 (up from US$97 million in 2016) but remained below 2014 and 2015 levels. Increased funding in recent years has gone to fishery development (largest sector of agriculture bilateral ODA in 2018, 21% of the total) and rural development (11%). The third and fourth-largest sub-sectors were agricultural development (11%) and fishing policy and administrative management (9%), in line with Norway’s policy priorities.
In addition to bilateral funding, Norway collaborates with multilateral organizations in the agricultural sector. In 2016 (latest year of available OECD data for multilateral funding), core multilateral contributions for agriculture and rural development made up 32% of total agriculture ODA. Key partners were the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the African Development Fund (AfDF). Norway also contributes to the Consultative Group on Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Crop Trust, and the World Food Programme (WFP).
Although agriculture is not historically one of Norway’s development priorities, in a December 2017 recommendation to the government, Norway’s Parliament highlighted the need to increase efforts towards food security and climate-smart agriculture. A new, separate budget line for agriculture and food security at NOK1.9 billion (US$235 million; up from NOK902 million or US$111 million in 2019) reflects the government’s efforts in this area. As part of funding under this budget line, the government announced a NOK60 million (US$7 million) increase specifically for climate-smart agriculture and food security, a particularly important area given Norway’s strong focus on environmental issues. Norway follows a rights-based approach; its support includes increasing smallholder’s participation in decision-making, building resilience, and enhancing productivity, particularly towards women.
In June 2019, Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) published an ‘Action plan for sustainable food production systems’. Drawing on extensive consultations with academics and civil society, the plan aims to take a holistic approach to food production systems. Norway will prioritize its partner countries as well as regions vulnerable to famine and with poor access to nutritional food, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The plan has four thematic areas: 1) Food production, 2) value-creation and market, 3) nutrition and diet, and 4) policies and governance.
Drawing on its expertise with marine resources, Norway is one of the very few countries that focus on fisheries, falling under the scope of agriculture ODA according to OECD reporting standards. In 2016, the government launched a program called ‘Fish for Development’, as a way to reduce poverty through promoting food security, sustainable fisheries management, and more profitable business activities. In 2018, the program’s budget stood at NOK280 million (US$34 million).
Decision-making and funding is split between different MFA departments
The most relevant departments in setting agriculture priorities within the MFA are Section for Energy, Climate and Food Security under the Department for Sustainable Development, and the section for UN Policy under the Department for Multilateral Cooperation. This is because a lot of Norway’s support for agriculture is channeled through international financing channels such as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), IFAD, and WFP. The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) steers programming through its Department of Climate, Energy and Environment and the Section for Environment and Food Security. Responsibility for the ‘Fish for Development’ program funding and implementation lies with the MFA and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, a Norwegian government agency that provides input for policy-making around fisheries. The secretariat sits within Norad. The Norwegian private sector also plays a lead role by pushing the topic in the public debate, for example, the EAT Foundation is a leader in this area.