Agriculture is a key priority of Spanish development policy
Agriculture and rural development, and food security more generally, is a key priority of Spain’s official development assistance (ODA). In 2015 (the latest year for which complete data is available), Spain allocated US$145 million to agriculture (8% of its total ODA). This is slightly more than the 7% average of member countries of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Within its ODA to agriculture, Spain focuses on smallholder farmers, and among them, prioritizes women. It aims to develop the economic potential of agriculture, through a greater involvement of the private sector. In addition, Spain increasingly links rural development to climate change, committing €900 million (US$996 million) in annual funding to developing countries in 2015 to support them in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
Most of Spain’s agriculture funding goes to multilateral organizations. In 2015, Spain provided nearly two thirds of its ODA to agriculture and rural development through multilaterals (62%; US$91 million). This is mostly due to Spain’s need to fulfill its core obligations towards the European Union (EU) institutions, which accounts for the majority of its ODA to agriculture (55%, or US$80 million in 2015). Spain’s bilateral agriculture ODA accounted for US$55 million in 2015, 7% of its total bilateral ODA. That share was diluted, however, in 2016, owing to a major spike in debt relief from a US$2.1 billion package for Cuba, which left agriculture with only 2% of Spain’s bilateral ODA (US$60 million).
Bilateral investments in 2016 focused on agricultural development (42% in 2016), food crop production (15%), and rural development (13%). Most bilateral ODA to agriculture was channeled through civil society organizations (CSOs): Spain allocated 65% of it in 2016. Spain concentrates its efforts on Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Support to small-scale production systems is a high strategic priority, and Spain places a special focus on women in this context. According to the new ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’, Spain’s development actions on rural development and agriculture are earmarked under its ‘zero hunger’ strategic goal, which outlines among its two priority targets the need to increase agricultural productivity in developing countries. Support to smallholder farmers is meant to enable them to move from subsistence farming to producing a marketable surplus.
Spain’s priority countries for bilateral cooperation in agriculture:
MAEC’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 (MAEC) 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 MAEC and AECID on key issues.