Sweden - Agriculture

Agriculture is not a top funding priority; focus on women and links to food security are increasing

Agriculture and rural development are not among the key priorities of Swedish development cooperation. According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), funding to the sector amounted to US$231 million in 2016 (the latest year for which multilateral and bilateral data is available), or 5% of Sweden’s total ODA. 53% of this was disbursed bilaterally, with the remainder being channeled as core contributions to multilateral organizations.

In 2017 and 2018, Sweden’s bilateral ODA to agriculture significantly increased, from US$122 million in 2016 to US$183 million in 2018 (+50%). These increases were largely driven by additional funding for policy and administrative management, both for agriculture and forestry, and for rural development. In 2018, bilateral funding remained focused mainly on agricultural development (34% of bilateral agriculture funding), and rural development (16%). Forestry development, agricultural research, and forestry policy and administrative management followed, with 10% each.  The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency’s (Sida) portfolio overview (which does not include all of Sweden’s bilateral funding reported to the OECD) indicates that bilateral funding is likely to continue to increase beyond 2018, driven by continued support to policy and administrative management.

In addition to bilateral funding, Sweden channels some ODA to multilateral organizations. In recent years, key partners have been the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the African Development Fund (AfDF). In parallel, support to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is increasing, and Sweden pledged SEK2 billion (around US$230 million) for 2018 to 2022. Parts of this funding will be used for sustainable forest and land management.

13 - Sweden bi-multi AG ODA

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Within the 2016 ‘Aid Policy Framework’, agriculture fits within the broader theme of ‘international trade and sustainable investments’ and focuses on small-scale agriculture. This section of the policy pays particular attention to women and highlights the connections between agriculture, food security, and economic development, as well as to health. There is no dedicated strategy for agriculture; the most-relevant policy documents include the ‘Strategy for sustainable economic development’, and the ‘Strategy for sustainable environment and climate change’.

Sida focuses on promoting small-scale farming, e.g., by improving equal access to natural resources, investing in infrastructure, improving knowledge about markets, and reforming laws to increase income and employment. Against the backdrop of Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy, introduced in 2015, Sida gives particular attention to gender and the role of women in agriculture, including on equal access to resources and opportunities needed to increase agricultural production.


Countries in which agriculture is a priority of Swedish bilateral cooperation:

  • Afghanistan
  • Burkina Faso
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Mozambique
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

15 - AG ranking absolute - Sweden

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16 - Agriculture ranking relative - Sweden

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The ‘economic and sustainable development’ unit takes the lead on programming within Sida

Within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the United Nations (UN) Policy Department, the Global Agenda Departments, and the Department for International Development and Cooperation are the main departments that focus on agriculture. The Department for International Development and Cooperation, in particular, coordinates the development of a strategy for Sida, including on agriculture-related topics. Within Sida, besides the geographic departments in charge of country-specific programming, the most relevant unit is the Economic and Sustainable Development Unit in the Department for International Organizations and Policy Support.