Publication / 22 April 2021

Development aid funds for agroecology

There is increasing consensus among scientists, political leaders, and civil society that agroecology is a crucial strategy to realise global food security in the face of the climate crisis, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite this widespread recognition for the need to adopt agroecology and unlock its potential, funding to promote the agroecological transformation of our food system remains minimal. Various studies across the EU found that Official Development Aid (ODA) monetary flows by European institutions and countries hardly fund agroecology, or at most promote sustainable intensification projects that do not integrate core agroecological principles. Only a very small minority of funds contribute to transformational agroecological transitions, but still usually in a limited or partial manner.

This raised the question how the Netherlands, as a major donor country and leader in agricultural innovation, compares to its European peers on supporting agroecological approaches through ODA flows. This report therefore presents an overview of the Dutch ODA policies on agriculture and food security in the past decade and how these relate to agroecology (Chapter 3), an in-depth assessment of the actual funding flows contributing to agroecological transformation (Chapter 4), and key recommendations on how an agroecological transition could be stimulated more strongly
through ODA incentives by the Dutch government (Chapter 5).

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