Agriculture is a priority of Spanish development policy but remains underfunded, compared to pre-crisis funding levels
Agriculture and rural development, and food security more generally, are priorities of Spain’s official development assistance (ODA). In 2016 (the latest year for which complete data is available), Spain spent US$212 million in ODA to agriculture, This funding was 42% higher than the amount provided in 2015 and the highest agricultural spending in five years. This amounted to 4% of Spain’s total ODA, which is still below the 7% average among member countries of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD.
According to the ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’, Spain’s development actions on rural development and agriculture are earmarked under its ‘zero hunger’ strategic goal. Increasing agricultural productivity in developing countries is one of two targets defined under this strategic goal, along with the target of fostering food security and nutrition in developing countries. Spain focuses on smallholder farmers (specifically prioritizing women) and aims to develop the economic potential of agriculture through greater involvement of the private sector. Support to smallholder farmers is meant to enable them to move from subsistence farming to producing a marketable surplus.
Most of Spain’s agriculture funding is disbursed as core contributions to multilateral organizations. In 2016, Spain provided more than two thirds (71%) of its ODA to agriculture and rural development through multilaterals (US$151 million). This is mostly due to Spain’s need to fulfill its core obligations towards the European Union (EU) institutions, which account for the majority (44%) of Spain’s ODA to agriculture (US$94 million), and due to its resumed contributions to the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) which accounts for 18% of its agricultural ODA (US$38 million, up from US$1 million in 2015).
Bilateral agriculture ODA made up 29% of total agriculture ODA. Consistent with previous years, bilateral investments in 2017 were focused at 24% on agricultural development (US$15 million), 18% (US$11 million) on food crop production and on rural development each. Spain concentrates its efforts on Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
MAEUEC’s Rural Development and Food Security Division defines agricultural strategic priorities
The Rural Development and Food Security Division within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEUEC) defines strategic priorities. Within Spain’s development agency (AECID), its Directorate for Multilateral and Sectorial Cooperation and its regional departments (i.e, Directorates for Africa and for Latin America) are in charge of the programming and implementation of Spain’s bilateral ODA to agriculture. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Environment (MAGRAMA), as well as its Climate Change Office, support MAEUEC and AECID on key issues.