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Official Development Assistance Provided by European Union Institutions in Support of Agriculture and Related Policy Objectives - Research Report

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Official Development Assistance
Provided by European Union Institutions
in Support of Agriculture and Related Policy Objectives
Research Report (First Version)
Research Collaboration of
Oxfam and Medical Mission Institute
Collaborators of Medical Mission Institute:
Joachim Rüppel (principal investigator)
Tilman Rüppel (research assistant)
Jens Unger (technical support)
Andrea Rogers (language revision)
Content
Summary ................................................................................................................................................. 3
Introduction........................................................................................................................................... 11
Resource Needs for Agricultural Development ..................................................................................... 11
Objectives and Scope of the Research .................................................................................................. 12
Outcome of the Project-level Analysis .................................................................................................. 15
Main Characteristics and Trends of EU Development Cooperation in Support of Agriculture ............ 15
ODA for Agricultural Development According to Originally Reported Sectors ................................. 15
Actual ODA for Agriculture in Relation to Total Flows Reported under Relevant Sectors ............... 16
Uncertainty Margins due to Reporting Deficiencies ......................................................................... 18
Overall Importance of Agriculture in EU Development Cooperation ............................................... 19
ODA Flows According to Main Sub-sectors ....................................................................................... 20
ODA Flows for Agriculture According to Funding Mechanism .......................................................... 21
Support for Agriculture by Channel of Delivery ................................................................................ 22
Distribution of ODA for Agriculture by Regions and Country Groups ............................................... 23
Significance of Support for Central Policy Objectives Related to Agricultural Development ............... 27
Overview of the Main Research Themes .......................................................................................... 27
Frequency and Importance of Cooperation with Smallholder Farmers ........................................... 29
The Significance of Support for Gender Equality .............................................................................. 32
Funding for Projects to Foster Ecological Sustainability of Agriculture ............................................ 32
In-depth Review of Evaluation Reports Concerning Smallholder Support, Gender Equality and
Ecological Sustainability ........................................................................................................................ 33
Outline of the Content Analysis ........................................................................................................ 33
Findings of the Review of Evaluations Regarding Smallholder Support ........................................... 34
Results of the Project Sample Examination Regarding Gender Equality .......................................... 36
Conclusions of the Analysis of Reports with Reference to Ecological Sustainability ........................ 37
2
Summary
Food and nutrition security represents one of the most important determinants of health and life
chances. Especially for young children, malnutrition constitutes the root cause of nearly half of all
deaths. Evidently, effective and sustainable systems of agricultural and in particular food production
must be regarded as a cornerstone of any effort to overcome hunger and poverty. At the same time,
the highest numbers of people facing extreme deprivation and undernourishment are found in those
population groups, which contribute the most to feed the world, namely smallholder farmers and
labourers, and among them women in particular. Thus, agricultural development with a perspective
of social justice and ecological sustainability is to be seen as a mainstay of international cooperation.
Even if an exact estimate of resource needs for strengthening agricultural production systems and
promoting related sectors of rural development may remain complicated, there is enough evidence
to state that current contributions are far from adequate.
With these considerations in mind, Oxfam and the Medical Mission Institute developed a research
collaboration in order to determine and assess the Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided
by EU institutions in support of agriculture. Basically the research aimed to achieve a high degree of
accuracy that permits to analyse the allocation by subsectors, geographical areas, delivery channels
and policy objectives.
The study focuses on grants that represent real financial efforts and can be used to satisfy the needs
of the most disadvantaged countries. It comprises two main research components that complement
each other. The first attempts to produce a comprehensive analysis of aid flows taking into account
all relevant projects and components that directly contribute to promote agricultural development.
Using the authoritative information systems established by the Development Assistance Committee
of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (DAC/OECD), it comprises a review
of the totality of aid activities, which were reported under the sectors of agriculture, food security
and rural development or were identified through wide-ranging keyword search. For sizable flows, in
particular those going to Sub-Saharan Africa, the research team conducted an extensive web-based
search of additional documentation in order to overcome the insufficiencies of reported data and to
obtain the necessary information for a correct classification and quantification of the agricultural
proportion. Out of a total number of 24,725 projects that were implemented during the research
period from 2007 to 2015 and had any documented reference to agriculture-related search terms,
the review found about 7,500 programmes that actually supported the sector by any means and
proportions. Our estimate aims to take into account all interventions contributing to improve
agricultural productivity according to the sectoral analysis of the Millennium Development Goals
Needs Assessment, which is largely congruent with the established DAC sector definition and its
respective purposes or subsectors.
Regarding the reliability of the review outcome, it is noteworthy that the investigation managed to
verify the main objectives and components of more than 85 percent of all relevant projects, while for
the remaining activities only insufficient or inconclusive information became available. In terms of
financial flows, however, the share of projects with adequate or at least acceptable descriptions is
considerably higher as projects involving larger amounts disbursed or committed per year received
greater priority in the review process.
In addition to the designation by sector and subsector, the project-level examination looked at policy
objectives that are closely related to the impact of agricultural development on the socioeconomic
3
fabric and the natural resource base. Specifically, the research intended to define whether aid
activities found to support agriculture were aiming to assist smallholder households, to promote
gender equality and to improve ecological sustainability. The latter aspect obviously includes efforts
to mitigate or to adapt to climate change. As the official databases lack a dimension for target groups
and the available narrative information on these issues can be regarded as fragmentary at best, a
quantification as done for the sectoral delimitation was not a viable option. Instead, in analogy with
policy markers used in the DAC/OECD information systems, projects are categorized along an ordinal
scale with a spectrum of three levels. The first category referred to as “principal objective” is
supposed to primarily pursue the respective goals with a budget share above 50 percent. The second
type labelled “significant objective” comprises aid activities with one or more components oriented
at the objectives in question that are found to account for less than half of the total funding flow.
Finally, the third group includes all remaining projects, for which available data suggest that the
aforementioned objectives are of marginal relevance only.
The second component of the research encompasses an in-depth review of evaluation reports on
agriculture-related projects funded by EU. For two reasons this complementary element was
expected to enhance knowledge on the significance of the relevant policy objectives. First,
evaluations are looking at actual actions, results and impacts of projects, which may differ from plans
designed before implementation, e.g. due to adjustments made in response to real challenges.
Second, these reports usually contain the most comprehensive and detailed stock-taking of
objectives, targets and strategies. Nevertheless, the analysis of these cases was based on all available
project documents. Originally, the research partners intended to study a sample of 100 projects in
order to achieve a high degree of representativeness. During this phase, however, it was merely
possible to complete the review of 25 projects, representing the minimum threshold agreed by
collaborating parties. Through the cooperation of EU representatives and direct web-based search,
the research team was only able to obtain the required documentation for this reduced sample
within the available time frame. Due to the necessity to search for additional information, moreover,
the review and classification of the totality of relevant projects consumed considerable more time,
already exceeding the working days foreseen to realize the content analysis of evaluations.
The results of the project-level analysis clearly show that tracking aid flows for agriculture merely on
the basis of reported sectoral amounts would produce a misleading picture, both concerning the
magnitude and regarding the trend over time. While concentrating on volumes officially reported
under the agriculture sector would represent a considerable underestimation, focusing on the
aggregate numbers of the three most relevant sectors, including food aid/security and rural
development, would significantly overestimate the funding streams. Many activities involving sizable
financial flows that actually support agricultural development are reported in other sectors. In the
majority of cases they constitute components of programmes that span over several sectors or
pursue a cross-sectoral approach. Due to thematic overlapping with related areas that have a
multisector structure by definition, namely food security and rural development, the proportional
weight of flows attributed to other sectors is comparatively large. This leads to the conclusion that
project-level review, while representing a recommendable procedure in general, is of special
importance for producing accurate estimates of international cooperation in support of agriculture.
Regarding the reliability of the research outcomes, the figures presented in the following chart
suggest that the gap between upper and lower bound of the overall estimate is narrowing over time
and represented not more than about 5 percent of the best estimate in the most recent 5 year
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period. Thus, the unknown contributions through projects reported as food security or rural
development, for which no suitable information could be found in the course of the review, are not
affecting the overall conclusions regarding the magnitude and tendency across the years, even under
the extreme assumptions that either 0 or 100 percent of the respective flows would foster
agriculture. The decreasing difference between low and high estimates reflects the fact that
implementing agencies provide more detailed information on projects that are still active or have
closed recently.
Figure 1. EU Institutions: Disbursements of ODA Grants for Agriculture by
Subsector According to Review in Relation to Reported Amounts, Euro million
1,200
General Budget
Support
Livestock
1,000
Industrial or
export crops
800
Food crop
production
Agriculture,
general
600
Reported as
Agriculture
400
Reported as 3
Sectors
Minimum
estimate
200
Maximum
estimate
0
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Even without differentiating by subsectors, the annual volumes disbursed for agriculture show
enormous fluctuations during the period under review. In the initial phase, efforts to foster
agricultural development did not feature prominently in EU development cooperation. With
disbursements of less than 450 million euros per year, the sector represented merely 6 to 7 percent
of overall real ODA grants transferred to developing countries or international organizations. This
situation changed substantially due to the implementation of the Food Facility. With this initiative,
EU institutions aimed to respond to the consequences of the 2007-2008 food crisis pledging to assist
49 countries most affected by high food prices. The respective financing decisions taken from 2009 to
2011 amounted to nearly one billion euros. Practically in the same time period, the EU attempted to
meet its part of the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI), where the Commission announced to
contribute 3.9 billion US$ to the overall pledge of 22 billion US$. In consequence, the annual
disbursements of ODA grants for agriculture nearly doubled to roughly 840 million euros or 11
percent of total transfers in 2009. In the aftermath of these exceptional financial commitments to
improve food availability and access, however, we observe a significant decline in absolute and
relative terms, falling to a low level of about 540 million euros or hardly 7.5 percent of overall
genuine aid in 2012. Since then, the annual amounts and proportions of the contributions in support
of the sector have recovered and have again reached quite similar levels as seen in the peak year
5
2009. The best estimate for 2015 comes to around 840 million euros, accounting for 10.5 percent of
all ODA grant transfers provided by EU. Due to inherent limitations, namely variable implementation
cycles and lower degree of sectoral differentiation, it is difficult to predict future disbursement
trends on the basis of recent commitment volumes. Nevertheless, it is possible to conclude that the
latter do not point to significant changes of amounts disbursed in the following years. The variations
observed in the past cast some doubt on the predictability of EU support for agriculture, which
constitutes an essential element to enhance the productive capacity in a way that is socially inclusive
and ecologically sustainable.
Even more questions arise when looking at the changing patterns of distribution of EU aid for
agriculture. Precisely, the specific development assistance to enhance food crop production suffered
the most excessive fluctuations and the sharpest decline after the implementation of the “food
facility”. Both at the beginning and the end of the study period, this critical area of support only
accounted for 4 percent of overall disbursements for agriculture, compared to 16 percent in the year
2009. Even if further research is required, mainly to analyse the allocation structures of agricultural
programmes that support the sector in general or span over several subsectors, the reduction of aid
flows going explicitly to food production points to a decreasing significance within EU cooperation.
This is corroborated by the fact that the amounts disbursed to foster industrial and export crops
show a much more stable tendency and have surpassed aid flows for food crops by roughly 70
percent in recent years. Regarding the decision-making processes behind this trend, however, it is
important to observe that UN organizations and NGOs were responsible for the bulk of EU-financed
specific support for food production. The declining significance of this critical subsector in EU
development assistance reflects both the declining proportion within sectoral EU funding for these
implementing partners and, to a lesser extent, and mainly with respect to the UN system, the
decreasing share of these channels in overall ODA for agriculture. Even after the period marked by
the “food facility” and AFSI, civil society entities and UN organizations still give higher priority to the
promotion of food production than other recipients of EU grants.
The additional financial effort observed since 2009 has mainly been channelled through civil society,
UN organizations and other multilateral institutions, representing the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) and the World Bank by far the largest recipients. Instead, funding for agriculture
via the public sector decreased considerably in the phase 2011 to 2013 and only recovered in the last
2 years of the study period. The support to agricultural activities of government institutions still
represented close to half of total aid for agriculture over the recent years. UN Organizations received
approximately 15 percent over the last years, which is still considerably below the level reached
during the implementation of the “food facility”. NGOs and civil society currently account for less
than a fifth, showing a relative stability of annual amounts received since the 2009 emergency
response.
Some of the most questionable features of EU cooperation in support of agriculture are related to
the distribution by regions and countries, which represents a central dimension to scrutinise whether
funding decisions are geared towards most urgent needs. While it is the case that in broad terms the
allocation tends to favour geographical areas with the worst indicators of food security, this
propensity reached its highest level during the main implementation phase of the “food facility” and
is increasingly distorted by disproportionate financing volumes for European countries. In 2014 and
2015, Turkey with one of the highest levels of average dietary energy supply adequacy (ADESA)
received five times more agriculture-related financial aid than Africa South of Sahara, when taking
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into account the respective population size. In the last year, Europe accounted for nearly a quarter of
the total amount disbursed for agriculture, while representing less than 3 percent of the people living
in developing countries. Evidently, the combination of stagnating overall ODA volumes and the
predetermined preference for so-called candidate countries leads to the situation that areas and
populations most in need, many of them to be found in Sub-Saharan Africa, obtain less support now
than in the peak years 2009-10.
Figure 2. EU: ODA Disbursements for Agriculture per Capita by Major Regions and
Country Groups with Highest Risk of Inadequate Dietary Energy Supply (Euros)
1.40
1.29
Global
Africa South of Sahara
Europe
Countries with ADESA <110
1.20
1.00
0.84
0.80
0.61
0.53
0.60
0.39
0.40
0.32
0.29
0.26
0.23
0.20
0.00
0.15
0.08
0.08
2007
2008
0.12
0.15
2009
0.38
0.35
0.33
0.21
0.10
0.34
0.24
0.12
0.11
0.09
0.10
0.12
0.14
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
In addition to the principal aim of quantifying aid for agriculture and its subsectors, the project-level
research intended to track the flows in support of specific target populations and policy objectives
that are of particular priority for poverty reduction and human development. As explained above,
fragmentary information impedes determining the proportions of projects allocated to these
dimensions. Therefore, the percentages displayed in the following figure represent the shares of
total flows for aid activities that pursue the relevant objectives as its principal aspiration or at least to
a significant extent in relation to overall disbursements for agricultural development.
Regarding the assistance to small-scale farmers, the implementation of the “food facility” not only
helped to boost the total volumes of resources mobilized by EU in support of agriculture, but also to
strengthen its focus on the poorer strata of producers. Since then, however, we observe a declining
trend especially with respect to activities conceived principally to improve the situation of
smallholders. Irrespective of trends over time, the results indicate that only a minor part of EU grants
for agriculture is earmarked for supporting the disadvantaged majority of farmers. Here again, we
observe considerable variations between different geographical areas as well as channels of delivery.
In general, the level of support for small-scale farming in Africa south of Sahara surpasses the global
average shares by some percentage points. Out of 14 developing countries, where EU financed
programmes benefitting at least partially smallholder households represent more than half of the
total amounts received in support of agriculture during the study period, nine are located in this
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priority region. EU funded aid activities that are implemented by NGOs exhibit the highest
proportions of aid flows for small-scale farmers, stabilizing in recent years at around a third when
considering both levels of relevance and nearly 14 percent regarding projects designed principally to
support smallholders. Still, UN organizations rank second, but the propensity to work explicitly with
marginalized farmers diminished after 2011 explaining most of the decline observed for overall EU
aid for agriculture. On average, the public sector exhibits the lowest shares of aid flows with explicit
relevance for smallholders and a declining trend over time. Yet, a detailed view demonstrates the
huge differences between countries and regions, with Sub-Saharan Africa tending to show a higher
degree of support. Considering that the proportional allocations for smallholders approach zero in
the European region, where the bulk of EU financing for agriculture is going to governmental
institutions, the aforementioned preference for candidate countries has a negative influence on
overall orientation towards farming groups with the most urgent needs. These findings underline the
necessity for stronger efforts to cooperate with those rural populations that are disadvantaged with
respect to economic resources and political power, if the twin goals of food security and poverty
reduction are to be achieved.
Figure 3. EU: ODA Grants in Support of Agriculture Destined to Policy Objectives
by Level of Relevance as Percentage of Total Disbursements for Agriculture
35%
30%
Smalholder
support, both
levels
25%
Smalholder
support,
principal
20%
Gender
equality, both
levels
15%
Gender
equality,
principal
Ecological
sustainability,
both levels
10%
5%
Ecological
sustainability,
principal
0%
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Even if the relative and absolute importance of aid activities, which at least include the promotion of
gender equality as one of several objectives, showed an increasing tendency, the support remains far
below the required level. Paradoxically, we observe relatively low shares of projects with explicit
gender relevance for Africa south of Sahara, one of the regions with the highest participation rates of
women in the agricultural workforce. Furthermore, only in a handful of recipient countries, the
calculated proportion of agricultural aid dealing with gender issues reached an elevated significance.
A similar situation can be seen with respect to the specific aid for the protection of environment in
general or for interventions to cope with climate change in particular, which was not commensurate
with the magnitude of these challenges. Despite the increase that becomes apparent during the
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period under review, in 2015 just one out of 20 euros raised to foster agricultural development was
spent for projects that include components or activities oriented towards ecological sustainability.
While in 14 percent of developing countries the level of support surpasses a threshold of a tenth, in
33 percent of these nations no specific flow with relevance for environmental aspects was identified.
As stated above, an in-depth review of existing evaluation reports was conducted in order to further
improve the understanding of EU’s financial contributions to support smallholder farmers, gender
equality and ecological sustainability. Due to the difficulties encountered in obtaining the respective
documentation, this triangulation did not reach the intended scope and should receive further
attention in subsequent stages of investigation. Despite limited representativeness of the minimum
sample, the analysis generated sufficient evidence to conclude preliminary results, which may
principally reflect EU cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa as 24 of the 25 surveyed programmes took
place within 11 nations of this region, while one supported regional and national farmers’
organisations across the African continent. Importantly, the project evaluations were carried out
between 2006 and 2016.
Among the most important conclusions it has to be stated that, generally, the documents lack
adequate information and analysis on the socioeconomic structure in general and land tenure in
particular. Thus, the differentiation, let alone the quantification, of beneficiary groups according to
structural criteria remain difficult. Frequently, the reports exhibit limitations with regard to debating
differing or even antagonistic interests between farmer groups characterized by unequal access to
land and other resources. The Africa-wide support programme of farmer organizations on
continental, regional and national level constitutes a highly relevant case in this regard. In principle,
member associations represent both small scale and large scale farmers. The main question is
whether the participation of the disadvantaged strata translates into organisational capacities and
policy positions that ultimately promote the overall goal to improve livelihoods and food security
situation of smallholder farmers. With respect to project impacts on socioeconomic inequality, an
evaluation report highlights the risk of project beneficiaries “becoming an ‘aristocracy’ or ‘exclusive
clubs’ of the already well to do members of the community”.i The very modest reductions of poverty
indices among target communities may indicate that, in fact, this project did not effectively support
the poorest people, either due to low participation or owing to limited scope. Merely in one project
the distribution of land represented an explicit action. Overall, available information suggests that
out of the 25 programmes studied at least five were fostering smallholder or family farmers as
principal target group. This means that the review of evaluations and similar documents identified an
additional project compared to the four aid activities of the sample already classified in this category
in the course of the complete review. Interestingly, the reason in this case is not specific targeting,
but the presented information permits to conclude that practically the entirety of the people living in
the project region resort to small-scale farming. The in-depth review found a considerable number of
additional projects, which in practice comprised a component that at least intended to specifically
foster smallholders. Considering, however, that most reports neglected to specify the land possessed
by project beneficiaries and to provide a definition for smallholders, the real achievements in this
regard remain uncertain. Seven of the reviewed projects did not contain any references to
smallholder support. All in all, more background data and analytical insights regarding the structural
conditions of targeted households and communities are required in order to assess the impact of EU
funded agricultural projects on the respective rural societies.
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Merely one of the 25 examined projects supported gender equality in the form of a principal
objective, contributing to rising incomes, enhanced food security and elevated social status of
women according to the final evaluation.ii This finding is congruent with the respective outcome of
the first review encompassing all relevant projects. On the other side, the in-depth analysis found
that 19 aid activities promoted gender equality to some extent, of which the majority was not
classified in this category during the first review. One of the reasons may be that programme designs
did not include specific interventions to address gender aspects, but later intended to increase
women’s participation at implementation/field level, as one report states.iii Furthermore, almost all
of the projects working with smallholders carried out the same actions for female and male farmers
without considering the specific needs of women resulting from their living conditions and family
roles. In some cases, the inclusion of women took place in merely one of several components.
Unfortunately, many evaluation reports omitted to provide data on the proportions of women in
agricultural sub-programmes or in decision-making bodies. Regarding the impact, the evaluations of
seven programmes did not provide any information and four projects were found to have achieved
mixed results. Therefore, just less than half of the cases classified as promoting gender equality to a
significant extent realised overall positive effects on the incomes, social position and/or the food
security of women active in the agriculture sector. Even if the content analysis of evaluations
identified many additional projects with gender-relevant components, in most of these cases the
scope and effect appear to be limited. On the other side, five programmes failed to take into account
gender-related issues, at least within their actions to foster agricultural development.
In congruence with the results of the general review, ecological sustainability was not a principal
objective in any of the 25 programmes. With respect to the number of projects, which pursue
environmental protection to a significant extent, the in-depth investigation led to a considerable
increase in comparison with the first complete review cycle. 14 of the 25 projects examined on the
basis of evaluations or analogous reports were found to fall under this category. The reasons for
changes of the classification appear to resemble the reflections outlined above with regard to gender
equality, namely the limited significance of ecological matters that were only taken into account in
one of several components. In general, the vast majority of actions to enhance the effect on the
natural resource base and environment aimed to prevent soil erosion, quite often in combination
with water conservation measures and interventions to confront climate change effects. Revealingly,
only three projects aimed at improvements in terms of biodiversity. Sometimes, the actions did not
achieve the expected results or showed contradictory effects. What is more, some projects either
caused unintended negative consequences on ecological sustainability or exhibited conflicting
interests between increasing agricultural productivity and ecological sustainability. Some reports
mention the possible danger of the extinction of local varieties and species through the promotion of
new seeds. The other 11 projects omitted ecological sustainability all together.
Overall, we observe that the analysis of more detailed ex post documentation contributes to find a
significant number of additional projects with relevance for the realization of the policy objectives in
question. Except for one special case, the newly identified programmes were graded in the second
category and frequently the information suggests that the respective issues did not feature
prominently on the agenda. Apart from the reporting deficiencies, it appears that support for smallscale farming households, promotion of gender equality and advancement of ecological sustainability
received higher attention during project implementation, as compared to the original approach. In
order to estimate the quantitative proportions and assess the range of actions, however, a broader
sample and a complementary analysis of the socioeconomic contexts are necessary.
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Introduction
By any ethical standards, early death due to social conditions that could be prevented through
known interventions represents one of the most atrocious forms of injustice. The Rome Declaration
on Nutrition stated that “undernutrition was the main underlying cause of death in children under
five, causing 45 percent of all child deaths in the world in 2013”.iv In the year 2015, at the end of the
implementation period of the Millennium Development Goals, there were 5.9 million under-five
deaths, down from 12.9 million in 1990. The global under-five mortality rate was estimated at 43
deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015. With current trends, 47 countries will not achieve the agreed
SDG target of 25 deaths per 1000 live births by 2030.v These figures clearly demonstrate the urgency
to increase the efforts and take all necessary measures to “end all forms of malnutrition” and “end
preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age” by 2030, as enshrined in targets
2.2 and 3.2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Rome Declaration further recognizes the need to develop and implement coordinated policies in
order to address food and agriculture systems and, in particular, to support family farmers and small
holders, notably women farmers as one of the pillars to overcome malnutrition. This document
further highlights the important role of international cooperation and Official Development
Assistance, which should foster and complement national nutrition strategies, policies and
programmes. First and foremost, investment in agriculture represents an indispensable, though
insufficient, measure to overcome hunger and, ultimately, save lives. Furthermore, it constitutes an
important strategy for overall poverty reduction. According to cross-country estimates cited in the
World Development Report 2008vi, economic growth originating in agriculture is two to four times
more effective in reducing poverty than the increase of the Gross Domestic Product arising from
other sectors. This over-proportional effect is closely related to the huge number of poor people that
depend on agricultural activities in order to earn their living. Of the people living in rural areas, which
currently total close to 3.4 billion persons, about 86 percent resort to agriculture as a means of
subsistence and approximately half belong to smallholder households.vii However, it is evident that
the magnitude and sustainability of agriculture-related poverty relief depends on structural factors,
primarily the land tenure system, access to technological resources and market conditions. In certain
circumstances, such as land concentration, social marginalization and political exclusion, the
outcomes of agricultural growth with regard to human and ecological development could prove
detrimental.
Resource Needs for Agricultural Development
Unfortunately, government representatives of wealthy countries declined to agree on suitable
targets for mobilizing the required resources for international cooperation in support of agricultural
development. In his opening statement to the World Summit on Food Security in November 2009,
the FAO Director General demanded to increase Official Development Assistance (ODA) “to be
invested in infrastructure, technology and modern inputs” that support agriculture to 44 billion US$
per year in order to eliminate hunger. The financing need estimated by FAO represented roughly
0.11 percent of donor GNI in the year 2009. From the documents and presentations it is difficult,
however, to determine exactly which proportion of the overall resource requirements should go to
primary agriculture and how much is calculated for related development sectors. Nevertheless, the
Declaration adopted by the Summit omitted this target level and merely pledged to reverse the
decline in domestic and international funding for agriculture, food security and rural development in
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developing countries. The goal announced earlier that year by G7 countries in the “L’Aquila” Joint
Statement on Global Food Security to strive to raise 20 billion US$ over three years falls far short of
this requirement, in particular when considering that G7 members taken together account for about
79 percent of aggregate GNI of DAC/OECD member countries.
According to the FAO scenario, the above mentioned aid volumes are expected to complement the
mobilization of domestic government resources, which were estimated at nearly 76 billion US$. Thus,
the required ODA flows for agricultural investments would represent just 37 percent of total public
expenditure.
Objectives and Scope of the Research
Thanks to the initiative of Oxfam, this organization and the Medical Mission Institute joined forces in
a research collaboration aiming to analyse in detail the ODA grants provided by European Union
Institutions in support of agriculture. Our study comprises both an accurate estimate of quantitative
aid flows and an investigation of qualitative issues, while taking into account that these aspects
constitute two sides of the same coin and need to be observed together. Indeed, there are important
dimensions such as the allocation by countries or regions, which can be seen under both
perspectives. In principal, the analysis of programmatic approaches looks on the questions who
benefits from aid activities in the area of agriculture and to what extent they contribute to improve
ecological sustainability of production methods.
Concerning the quantification of ODA flows, the main goal was to determine the funding trends as
accurately as possible, ensure comparability across years and recipient countries as well as facilitate
the verification of the results by other researchers or observers. The study intended to achieve a
degree of precision that permits to assess the amounts received by different countries in relation to
their funding needs, paying special attention to the priority region of Africa south of Sahara.
In order to determine the precise volumes of ODA for agriculture, the investigation attempted to
realize a review of all projects or components thereof, which are potentially related to this sector of
development. The primary basis of information represents the CRS database of DAC/OECD, which is
considered as the authoritative source of annual statistical information of international aid flows
from OECD countries. It constitutes a complete registry of aid activities and contains data on types of
assistance, geographical areas, and channels of delivery, financial amounts and main purposes as
well as narrative information.
For pragmatic reasons, in particular data availability, the study period starts with the year 2007 and
ends with 2015. Unfortunately, the data on EU funding of aid activities in the year 2014 that were
reported to DAC/OECD were lacking narrative information in a significant number of cases. For most
of the incomplete data records, the study team managed to obtain the respective project titles and
descriptions through combining the CRS dataset with the information conveyed by EU institutions to
the registry of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). As the data published later by
DAC/OECD for aid activities implemented in 2015 did not show the defects seen for the previous
reporting year, the review included an additional control and, if required, correction of narrative
information previously retrieved from IATI registry in order to fill empty fields.
The universe to be examined included all aid activities that originally were reported under the areas
of agriculture, rural development and food aid or food security. In addition, an extensive search using
12
a broad list of terms intended to identify relevant projects that were registered in any other sector.
According to the identity numbers extracted from indications used by donor agencies, a total of
24,725 individual projects were included in the review of which 7,900 belonged to the three sectors
and the remaining 16,875 were found through the text search. It is important to make clear that
these figures comprise all projects whose respective data records contain any of the key words or
text strings in the title or description fields in at least one year, while the number of activities actually
related to agricultural development resulted to be considerably smaller.
The review aimed to detect exactly those projects and components that correspond with the specific
objectives and interventions as defined in the respective resource needs estimates. For all activities
found to support at least partially the agricultural sector the study tried to estimate the respective
proportion destined to agriculture using preferably budget information, mainly for larger flows, or
resorting to approximate data such as the number of beneficiaries or components. On this basis, the
estimated amount committed or disbursed per year for agricultural purposes is calculated for each
relevant project.
Our research focusses on direct support to agriculture following the stricter definition of the
Millennium Project that developed a resource needs estimate for all sectors requiring assistance in
order to reach the Millennium Development Goals. This comprehensive costing exercise takes into
account most of the relevant interventions and, hence, permits to verify to which sector they belong.
In this sense, we consider any aid activity as support for agriculture, which contributes to enhance
agricultural productivity as its direct and primary objective. The respective interventions are largely
congruent with the detailed purposes established for reporting to the CRS database.
In order to improve the systematic classification of the different project approaches, we discern subsectors on the one hand and analytical categories on the other hand. The first refer to the type of
product and differentiate food crops, industrial or export crops and livestock apart from general
support to agriculture, i.e. spanning over all or several of the three sub-sectors. The latter relates to
the respective elements or areas of support, i.e. the specific inputs that are deemed necessary in
order to improve the agricultural productivity.
Thus, the different aid activities are classified according to the following categories:














General, i.e. all or combined services
Support for government or public institutions
Agrarian reform (land rights and redistribution, power relations)
Soil conservation
Pests and diseases control
Extension and training
Financial services
Agricultural Inputs
Marketing
Postharvest handling
Organizational support (cooperatives)
Agricultural research
Social organizations and movements
Transportation
13



Water management
Other support
Not specified and no reliable information found
In many cases the narrative information reported to the database was insufficient for a correct and
reliable classification. Therefore, the investigation included an extensive web-based search and
analysis of background documents that provide a clearer and more detailed presentation of
objectives, activities and the respective budget allocations. The additional effort to find and
scrutinize the required documentation was graduated according to volumes and geographic
destination of flows, giving highest priority on sizable amounts of commitments and disbursements
as well as aid allocated to Sub-Saharan Africa. For this region the review intended to examine each
flow exceeding 0.1 million US$, whereas for the remaining areas this threshold was set at 0.5 to 1
million US$. Consequently, the degree of precision attributable to the estimates of ODA grants for
agriculture is highest for countries located South of Sahara.
Aiming to improve the precision of data regarding the allocation of aid, the study included several
important actions of differentiation of larger ODA flows with relevance to agriculture. Based on
available background documentation, amounts not specified by countries or sub-sectors by reporting
agencies were split into several components with detailed calculations to determine the flows
destined to certain recipient countries and intervention areas.
In order to document activities that indirectly may produce a positive effect on agricultural
development or improving the living conditions of rural inhabitants, the review classified the
respective projects according to one of the following sub-sectors:






Rural development, other sectors
Income generation (off-farm)
Processing of agricultural products
Food aid (distribution)
Other sectors with reference to Agriculture (incl. forestry, fisheries, social welfare and
political governance in rural areas)
Environmental Education
Furthermore, the examination intended to identify all aid activities that support smallholder
agriculture, gender equality in agricultural development and ecological sustainability regarding the
use of agricultural resources including specifically actions for climate change mitigation and
adaptation. For these cases, the review aimed to discern between projects that primarily pursue to
support these goals (principal objective) or to foster them as one among several important issues
(significant objective).
The analysis of agricultural aid that is promoting these policy objectives is complemented by an indepth study of evaluation reports and similar documents. There are basically two expectations
attached to using these reports. First, they contain a description of activities and outcomes of the
respective projects after implementation and, therefore, should reflect the reality that might differ
from the planned interventions. Second, they should provide a more detailed stocktaking of the
strategies and its results. The results of this research component are presented in a separate part of
the report.
14
Outcome of the Project-level Analysis
The review process found nearly 9,800 projects that were related to agriculture, food security or
rural development. Of these, roughly 7,500 projects directly supported agricultural development by
any means or proportions. The search for complementary information resulted in the documentation
of additional descriptions regarding the respective approaches and interventions for a total of 2,750
individual projects. This part of the investigation succeeded in overcoming the insufficient quality and
consistency of narrative information reported to the CRS database for many projects, while it was
impossible to obtain the required descriptions through web-based documentation for other
activities. Therefore, the total number of projects for which adequate or at least acceptable
descriptive information was made available allowing for a reliable classification and quantification
increased to 6,650. On the other side, roughly 1,100 activities lack appropriate information with the
vast majority of these cases reported in the rural development and food security sectors. In addition,
the review was unable to find more detailed descriptions for a number of activities reported in the
agriculture sector, but the possible effect on the estimation result is probably quite limited. The
findings and conclusions presented in the following chapters are based on this consolidated and
enhanced database of aid activities found relevant for EU-managed aid in support of agriculture and
related areas of action, irrespective of the originally reported sector.
Besides ODA grants for specific purposes, including project-type activities, bilateral funding of
programmes and funds managed by international organizations, NGOs, research institutions or other
partnerships as well as sector budget support, the research comprised a review of the flows reported
as general budget support. For each aid flow that actually represented financing to the public sector
of recipient countries without any specification by sector the imputable amount of support for
agricultural development was calculated on the basis of annual data on government expenditure for
agriculture and overall spending provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO). In the absence of specific information for certain reporting years or recipient
countries the calculation used interpolated data resulting from other years or regional averages.
Main Characteristics and Trends of EU Development Cooperation in
Support of Agriculture
ODA for Agricultural Development According to Originally Reported Sectors
The differentiated view on the sectors designated by reporting agencies for ODA flows in support of
agriculture highlights the importance of taking into account all relevant aid activities instead of
limiting the analysis on the projects that originally were classified as agricultural assistance. Taken
together and excluding general budget support, grants reported under other sectors account for 15
to 42 percent of commitments and 28 to 53 percent of disbursements allocated over the years to
specific agricultural aid activities. These proportions and its variability in the course of the period
under review demonstrate that the exclusive concentration on aid for agriculture reported as such
would give a highly incomplete picture and an erroneous trend over time. As can be observed in
Table 1, the two most recent years would appear as the peak phase of ODA disbursements for
agricultural purposes, whereas the comprehensive analysis shows that the highest amount disbursed
per year was registered in 2009 and a similar level was only reached again in 2015.
15
Table 1. EU Institutions: Bilateral ODA Grants for Agriculture by Reported Sectors (Euro million)
Reported Sectors
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Agriculture
255
334
1,038
679
596
978
755
307
Food Aid/Security
102
104
190
130
3
101
78
80
578
98
Rural Development
28
24
100
67
29
77
309
54
100
Other Sectors
56
17
38
87
71
22
47
24
161
General Budget Support
24
95
33
15
4
26
34
9
39
Total
465
574
1,399
978
704
1,204
1,224
473
976
Agriculture
198
233
441
355
363
278
365
510
551
Food Aid/Security
120
104
256
201
138
127
104
56
116
Rural Development
59
46
54
54
42
52
77
76
63
Other Sectors
45
37
62
47
40
57
43
71
91
General Budget Support
23
21
28
40
23
26
25
26
21
445
442
842
698
606
539
613
739
841
Disbursements
Total
Expectedly, the cross-cutting areas of food security and rural development contributed to the bulk of
additional ODA flows in support of agriculture. However, the total annual volumes of grants for
agriculture identified in other sectors were anything but negligible, actually exceeding in some years
the volumes identified in rural development programmes. The yearly amounts disbursed for
agricultural development that are imputable to general budget support merely oscillated between
2.4 percent in 2015 and 5.7 percent in 2010 compared to total annual disbursements going to the
agricultural sector.
Taking into account all ODA contributions irrespective of the reported sector permits to take a
comprehensive view of the annual flows in support of agriculture. After remaining at a quite modest
level during the first years under review, the overall commitments of agricultural ODA showed an
exceptional increase due to the funding decisions taken in response to the crisis triggered by soaring
food prices, especially the launch of the so-called “food facility”. In consequence, the amounts
committed per year peaked at 1.4 billion euros in 2009 but fell to just half of that level only two years
later. In 2012 and 2013, the years that marked the final phase of the previous multiannual financial
framework, the EU committed again roughly 1.2 billion euros per year to foster agricultural
development. With the start of the current financial framework in 2014, we observe a decline of
annual commitments to the level seen at the beginning of the period, but in the following year the
total volume nearly reached one billion euros again.
The amounts disbursed per year resulting from these commitments also saw a first point of
culmination in 2009 and an analogous decrease thereafter. After falling to a low level in the year
2012, the amounts disbursed per year in support of agriculture increased on average by about 100
million euros reaching finally the volume of about 840 million euros already seen in 2009. Even
without differentiating by geographical location or area of intervention we have to observe
enormous fluctuations of ODA flows going to agriculture, which cast some doubt on the consistency
of EU support for this critical development goal.
Actual ODA for Agriculture in Relation to Total Flows Reported under
Relevant Sectors
The comparison of actual ODA flows for agriculture according to project-level review with total
amounts reported under the three most relevant sectors, namely food aid/food security and rural
16
development along with agriculture itself, shows that taking the addition of the latter as a proxy for
the former would result in a significant over-estimation. The approximate disbursement figure
resulting from the research represents between 68 and 84 percent of the subtotal taking the
reported amounts disbursed for the above mentioned sectors together.
On the other hand, the realistic annual estimates produced by the review are considerably higher
than the officially reported volumes for specific aid in support of agriculture. When leaving out
general budget support, the differences over the years range from 20 to 90 percent of the
disbursements declared as ODA grants for agriculture.
The magnitude and variability of the disparities between actual aid for agriculture and either value
calculated on the basis of reported amounts make clear that the latter are not correctly reflecting the
real volumes and trends. Due to the overlapping of the agricultural sector with cross-cutting areas of
action, namely food aid and rural development, the discrepancies are probably of higher significance
than for other sectors. Evidently, a detailed analysis aiming to identify agricultural components
within programmes pursuing broader objectives or multi-sector purposes is indispensable for a
reliable and accurate tracking of aid flows in support of agriculture. As long as donor agencies report
a single lump sum for programmes with cross-sectoral approaches instead of documenting the
respective sector-specific components this appears to represent the only way for producing realistic
estimates of development cooperation that fosters agricultural development.
Table 2. EU: ODA for Agriculture compared to Total Flows Reported by Relevant Sectors (Euro million)
Sectors
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Reported as Agriculture
276
419
1,268
779
719
1,102
857
331
717
Rep. as Food Aid/ Food Security
216
196
297
198
8
197
140
151
204
Reported as Rural Development
130
62
176
198
88
268
699
173
237
Subtotal: Rep. as sectors above
622
677
1,741
1,174
816
1,567
1,695
654
1,158
General Budget Support (GBS)
710
2,322
1,048
578
205
800
716
487
1,038
6,700
6,850
7,031
6,775
7,992
8,281
8,951
5,735
8,954
Agriculture actual, excl. GBS
441
479
1,366
963
700
1,178
1,190
465
936
Agriculture actual, incl. GBS
465
574
1,399
978
704
1,204
1,224
473
976
8,032
9,849
9,820
8,527
9,012
10,648
11,362
6,876
11,150
Other Sectors
Total real Transfers excl.
Humanitarian Aid
Disbursements
Reported as Agriculture
222
258
484
387
407
298
413
596
635
Rep. as Food Aid/ Food Security
237
223
383
315
207
224
180
111
224
Reported as Rural Development
160
129
103
119
107
138
160
199
161
Subtotal: Rep. as sectors above
620
610
969
821
720
660
753
905
1,019
General Budget Support (GBS)
617
557
843
1,173
729
806
672
872
729
5,383
5,819
5,853
5,746
5,598
5,827
5,582
5,926
6,261
Agriculture actual, excl. GBS
422
421
813
658
583
513
588
713
821
Agriculture actual, incl. GBS
445
442
842
698
606
539
613
739
841
6,620
6,986
7,665
7,740
7,046
7,293
7,007
7,704
8,009
Other Sectors
Total real Transfers excl.
Humanitarian Aid
Note: Real Transfers are calculated deducting all items included in OECD-accepted ODA that are not contributing to cover the resource
needs for development in disadvantaged countries, specifically debt relief, imputed student costs, expenditure for refugees in donor
countries and administrative cost.
While the aid volumes for specific sectors such as agriculture obviously depend on financial resources
made available for overall ODA, the trend of the latter does not necessarily predict the magnitude of
the former. For instance, the amounts expressed in current euros that were disbursed in support of
17
agriculture in the years 2009 and 2015 practically coincide, but the total volume of real transfers of
ODA grants was considerably higher in the most recent year.
Table 3 exhibits the calculated shares of aid for agriculture in relation to total reported amounts
under the relevant sectors. It appears that a relatively stable percentage of around 90 percent of the
flows declared under the agriculture sector actually meet this purpose. Regarding the aid activities
reported as food security programmes, we observe a high variability and a declining tendency over
time of the agricultural share. When looking at disbursements, the percentage going to this specific
sector peaks in 2009 at roughly two thirds and decreases in the following years to just half of the
reported amounts per year. The percentage of agriculture within rural development programmes is
generally lower but follows a similar trend of decline after 2009 except for the year 2013.
Table 3. EU: ODA for Agriculture as percentage of Total Reported Flows per Sector (Euro million)
Reported Sectors
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Agriculture
92.3%
79.6%
81.9%
87.1%
82.9%
88.7%
88.2%
93.0%
80.6%
Food Aid/Security
47.3%
52.9%
64.0%
65.8%
34.1%
51.4%
55.7%
52.9%
47.8%
Rural Development
21.2%
38.8%
56.6%
33.7%
33.4%
28.8%
44.3%
31.1%
42.3%
Other Sectors
0.8%
0.3%
0.5%
1.3%
0.9%
0.3%
0.5%
0.4%
1.8%
General Budget Support
3.4%
4.1%
3.1%
2.6%
2.0%
3.2%
4.7%
1.8%
3.8%
Agriculture
89.3%
90.2%
91.2%
91.7%
89.3%
93.1%
88.4%
85.6%
86.8%
Food Aid/Security
50.6%
46.9%
66.9%
63.9%
66.9%
56.6%
57.5%
50.2%
52.0%
Rural Development
36.8%
35.9%
52.2%
45.8%
38.9%
37.5%
47.9%
38.5%
39.1%
Other Sectors
0.8%
0.6%
1.1%
0.8%
0.7%
1.0%
0.8%
1.2%
1.4%
General Budget Support
3.7%
3.8%
3.4%
3.4%
3.1%
3.2%
3.7%
3.0%
2.8%
Disbursements
The variation suggests that the composition of aid flows attributed to these cross-cutting areas
changes according to decisions made by donor agencies with respect to the mobilization and
allocation of resources. Evidently, the overall estimate of ODA for agriculture is not only influenced
by the total volume designated to these programmatic areas but also by the fluctuating proportions
of different sectoral interventions within the respective projects.
The percentage of agricultural development activities identified in other sectors is relatively low, but
due to the enormous overall envelope the respective amounts that foster agriculture may be
significant, as stated above. The quite modest share of agriculture in general budget support reflects
the limited political will of many governments in developing countries to invest in this central sector
for promoting food security and human development. The proportions of total government
expenditure allocated to agriculture are, however, highly variable across countries and years. Of 30
countries receiving relevant support by EU in 2015, 7 used less than 1 percent of total public
resources to promote agricultural development, whereas 2 (Mali and Ivory Coast) invested more
than 5 percent of overall spending for this purpose. And changes between just a few years can
surpass several percentage points in the case of some countries (e.g. Guinea-Bissau and Malawi).
Uncertainty Margins due to Reporting Deficiencies
As observed above, the main difficulty for producing an accurate estimate lies in the variable
proportions of agricultural interventions within programmes defined as food aid or food security and
rural development. For the majority of these aid activities it was possible, often through extensive
18
search, to obtain reliable information that permitted to calculate approximately the agricultural
share. For a significant number of projects reported in these cross-cutting areas, however, the
research could not find any specific descriptions or the information found was inconclusive. The best
estimate presented here is based on the assumption that the proportional support to agriculture of
these remaining projects equals the annual share resulting from all those activities reported under
each of both sectors for which quantitative information was available. The most extreme scenarios
would correspond to the cases where these projects would not comprise any agricultural measure or
the complete flows would support the sector. Therefore, the lower and the upper bound of the
estimate were calculated applying agricultural shares of 0 and 100 percent for the activities lacking
the required information.
Table 4. EU: Best Estimates of Bilateral ODA for Agriculture with Maximum and Minimum (Euro million)
Scenarios
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Best estimate
465
574
1,399
978
704
1,204
1,224
473
976
Minimum
438
573
1,383
970
704
1,199
1,218
473
976
Maximum
486
575
1,403
981
704
1,207
1,226
473
976
Best estimate
445
442
842
698
606
539
613
739
841
Minimum
372
412
792
675
587
523
594
728
828
Maximum
508
470
864
712
616
552
626
751
854
Disbursements
Regarding annual volumes of funding commitments, the range of uncertainty is minimal in most
years and only in the first year corresponds or exceeds the level of 5 percent compared to the best
estimate. Through the research, notably the additional web-based search of further documentation,
it was mostly possible to quantify the proportions going to agriculture according to the planning
details of the respective programmes. The number of different aid activities at the disbursement
level, however, is considerably higher, which is mainly related to the fact that larger programmes
committed by EU result in a number of different operations through calls for proposals by NGOs and
other non-state actors. Unfortunately, the descriptive information provided by EU institutions for this
type of projects is frequently insufficient for correct classification and determination of the
agricultural proportions. The general lack of reporting the specific implementing organization or
channel of delivery to the CRS database further complicated this deficiency. Even after considerable
effort, the examination ended without obtaining suitable project descriptions in a number of cases.
The extent of this problem in terms of the respective amounts disbursed diminishes over time.
Whereas the potential differences between lower and upper limits are relatively high for 2007, they
remain around or below 5 percent since 2009 and do not even reach 2 percent in the latest years
2014 and 2015. This positive tendency reflects the experience that most implementing organizations
make available more detailed information on those projects which are still active or ended recently.
In general, we can conclude that the main results of the research remain valid even under the above
mentioned extreme assumptions.
Overall Importance of Agriculture in EU Development Cooperation
The share of support for agriculture within total ODA contributions made by EU institutions shows a
considerable volatility. Evidently, the decisions regarding sectoral allocation of aid explain most of
19
the fluctuations observed for the annual amounts committed or disbursed to foster agricultural
development.
The highest proportion of agriculture in relation to total amounts that were disbursed and actually
transferred in the form of grants to developing countries and regions was reached in 2009, showing
the effect of implementing the “food facility”. The level of significance declined considerably in the
following years and was only recovered in the latest phase of the study period surpassing again 10
percent in 2015.
Table 5. EU: ODA for Agriculture in relation to Total Real Transfers of Grants (Euro million)
Sectors
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Other Sectors
Agriculture
Total amount
Share of Agriculture
7,567
9,275
8,422
7,550
8,308
9,444
10,138
6,402
465
574
1,399
978
704
1,204
1,224
473
976
8,032
9,849
9,820
8,527
9,012
10,648
11,362
6,876
11,150
14.2%
11.5%
5.8%
5.8%
7.8%
11.3%
10.8%
10,175
6.9%
8.7%
Disbursements
Other Sectors
Agriculture
Total amount
Share of Agriculture
6,174
6,544
6,824
7,042
6,440
6,755
6,394
6,965
445
442
842
698
606
539
613
739
841
6,620
6,986
7,665
7,740
7,046
7,293
7,007
7,704
8,009
6.7%
6.3%
11.0%
9.0%
8.6%
7.4%
8.7%
7,168
9.6%
10.5%
ODA Flows According to Main Sub-sectors
The research attempted to discern the relevant subsectors mainly with respect to the amount of
support for increasing the availability of food as one of the pillars to improve food security. Taking
into account the above mentioned deficiencies and inconsistencies of reporting qualitative aspects to
the CRS database, the difficulties for these differentiated classifications are even vaster than for the
general determination of flows in support of agriculture.
Table 6. EU Institutions: ODA Grants for Agriculture by Subsector (Euro million)
Defined Subsectors
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Agricultural, general
225
351
1,114
751
554
855
1,020
453
9
10
124
16
9
35
30
5
0
178
96
53
112
123
205
93
1
17
Livestock
29
22
75
83
15
83
48
6
41
General Budget Support
24
95
33
15
4
26
34
9
39
Total
465
574
1,399
978
704
1,204
1,224
473
976
Agricultural, general
343
301
530
475
423
365
408
571
656
Food crop production
17
20
130
69
47
45
47
33
34
Industrial or export crops
45
72
93
68
61
54
78
57
59
Livestock
18
27
60
45
51
49
55
52
71
General Budget Support
23
21
28
40
23
26
25
26
21
445
442
842
698
606
539
613
739
841
Food crop production
Industrial or export crops
878
Disbursements
Total
Precisely, the flows in support of food production show the most dramatic variations and the most
pronounced tendency of decline after the short-lived peak around 2009 to 2010. The annual
disbursements destined specifically to this crucial sub-sector fell to just one quarter of the point of
culmination and the level of new commitments per year are approaching zero in the latest years. In
20
part, this may be explained with an increase of programmes that pursue sector-wide approaches
and, hence, include interventions to promote food production and availability. The fact that the
simultaneous decrease of the specific support for industrial or cash crops is far less dramatic,
however, points to a declining significance of the aid for food production in overall development
cooperation managed by the EU. This question merits further investigation looking especially at the
structure of the allocation of financial resources resulting from programmes that support the whole
sector or span over several subsectors. Considering the high and increasing proportion of these
generalized approaches reaching in recent years 70 to 80 percent of aid to agriculture (excluding
flows through general budget support), a shifting focus within these programmes could theoretically
change the overall allocation by subsectors.
ODA Flows for Agriculture According to Funding Mechanism
Grants for development assistance managed by EU institutions originate from two funding sources.
The European Development Fund (EDF) supports aid programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa (except
South Africa), the Caribbean and the Pacific regions (the ACP regions), while external assistance to
other geographic areas and the thematic aid programmes are financed with resources from EU
budget. Both funding streams represent a real financial effort of member states, which provide
contributions from their budgetary resources to refinance these pooled funding mechanisms. On the
other hand, flows from the European Investment Bank (EIB) are excluded here, because they are
made available in the form of loans or equity investments that are extended using money raised on
the capital market.
The data shown in Table 7 indicate that both financing instruments were giving relatively low priority
to financing of agricultural development in the years prior to the launch of the “food facility”. As this
initiative was funded from EU budget, the respective amounts committed and disbursed in support
of agriculture increased steeply in 2009, followed by a decline in subsequent years. Thanks to the rise
of annual commitments in 2012 and 2013, the final phase of the previous financial framework, the
disbursements also grew again in the most recent years without reaching the peak level seen in
2009. Regarding the EDF, the research results demonstrate that the response to the food crisis
lagged behind. It is only in 2012 when the first additional efforts to foster agricultural development
became apparent. The annual amounts disbursed for the sector from this funding source in the
period 2013 to 2015 surpass the quite stagnant disbursement level registered in the preceding years
by roughly 100 million euros.
Notwithstanding the fluctuations caused by the ups and downs of total transfers of grants per year,
the agricultural shares follow similar trends as described above for absolute amounts. In the latest
years of the period under review, it appears that the proportions dedicated to agriculture in both
financing streams are converging at around a tenth of overall disbursements. The fact, however, that
the annual average amounts committed to the sector fell considerably below this level gives rise to
the question whether this relative weight will be upheld in the coming years.
21
Table 7. EU: ODA for Agriculture by Financing Mechanism (Euro million)
Mechanism
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
EU Budget for agriculture
235
380
1,136
707
565
789
773
446
EDF for agriculture
230
194
263
270
139
415
451
28
476
500
Grant Transfers from EC Budget
4,954
5,710
6,482
6,153
6,438
7,042
7,157
6,252
6,821
Grant Transfers from EDF
3,078
4,139
2,575
4,329
3,339
2,374
3,606
4,205
624
Share of Agriculture, Budget
4.7%
6.7%
17.5%
11.5%
8.8%
11.2%
10.8%
7.1%
7.0%
Share of Agriculture, EDF
7.5%
4.7%
7.9%
11.4%
5.4%
11.5%
10.7%
4.4%
11.5%
583
Disbursements
EU Budget for agriculture
283
272
689
534
479
359
361
456
EDF for agriculture
163
171
153
164
127
181
251
282
259
Grant Transfers from EC Budget
4,050
4,157
4,983
4,830
4,576
4,496
4,479
4,734
5,354
Grant Transfers from EDF
2,570
2,829
2,797
2,528
2,970
2,656
2,682
2,910
2,470
Share of Agriculture, Budget
7.0%
6.5%
13.8%
11.1%
10.5%
7.9%
8.1%
9.6%
10.9%
Share of Agriculture, EDF
6.3%
6.0%
5.7%
5.6%
5.1%
6.5%
9.9%
9.5%
9.7%
Support for Agriculture by Channel of Delivery
Before the launch of the “food facility” the public sector absorbed the bulk of EU funding for
agriculture with about four-fifths of overall flows fostering the sector. Since 2009, the volumes and
proportions of the different ways to channel agricultural support have changed significantly. Even the
absolute amounts disbursed for the government sector have declined for several years and only
recovered and exceeded the altitude seen in 2007 in the two most recent years. In relative terms,
however, its importance remains lower getting a bit less than half of total funds disbursed in support
of agriculture.
Most other channels for delivering agricultural aid have received significantly higher volumes and
proportions since 2009, albeit showing quite diverse trends in the aftermath of the emergency
response. Amounts disbursed through NGOs practically tripled from one year to the next and have
maintained a relatively high level since then. Due to the significant increase seen in 2015, the annual
average amount committed to civil society approaches one-fifth of total flows in support of
agriculture. The resources channelled through UN organizations (with FAO receiving 40 to 70 percent
of annual disbursements) and other multilateral institutions (with the World Bank accounting for 50
to 80 percent of amounts disbursed per year) show an analogous trend, but the amplitude of the
fluctuations was much wider. Considering that these funds frequently involve relatively large
volumes and longer implementation cycles, the disbursements made by the respective organizations
at the country and project level may show a more continuous trend. In recent years the share of UN
organizations reached approximately 15 percent of the overall ODA resources provided by EU for
agriculture, while roughly a tenth of the total was made available through other multilaterals.
The flows reported as other channels include, on the one hand, the support for universities, teaching
or research institutions and, on the other hand, the funding for organizations that provide technical
assistance and capacity building. The annual disbursements received by the former subcategory over
the last years totalled just 15 to 20 million euros with moderate variations only. The amounts
disbursed to the latter, more heterogeneous, group showed a significant and consistent increase
reaching more than 60 million euros in 2015.
22
Table 8. EU: ODA Grants for Agriculture by Channel of Delivery (Euro million)
Channel
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Public sector incl. GBS
387
553
498
549
348
677
708
248
476
NGO and civil society
61
5
142
63
115
116
125
64
268
325
105
151
157
214
105
91
48
162
58
114
133
56
132
-
-
UN organizations
8
other multilateral institutions
2
PPPs and networks
-
other channels
Total
7
465
17
-
-
-
386
99
32
140
44
1
9
1,399
978
704
1,204
1,224
473
976
574
-
-
-
-
Disbursements
Public sector incl. GBS
356
329
308
303
244
203
227
356
389
NGO and civil society
29
57
163
113
130
151
144
133
146
UN organizations
31
25
248
173
99
80
135
90
139
other multilateral institutions
19
28
112
66
63
41
48
85
85
0
5
2
2
1
PPPs and networks
other channels
Total
-
-
-
-
10
3
10
43
69
60
57
73
82
445
442
842
698
606
539
613
739
841
Distribution of ODA for Agriculture by Regions and Country Groups
The geographical allocation represents an important criterion for assessing the orientation of
development cooperation towards areas and populations showing the most urgent needs. SubSaharan Africa represents by far the region with the most dramatic indicators of food insecurity.
Regarding in particular food availability, 14 out of the 22 countries worldwide, which registered
levels of average dietary energy supply adequacy below 100 percent in any year of the study period
are found in Africa south of Sahara. Of the other 8 countries with extremely insufficient supply of
calories in relation to requirements of the respective populations 6 are located in south, central and
east Asia, while 2 (Haiti and Bolivia) belong to Latin America and the Caribbean.
In contrast with these considerations, the aid volumes destined to foster agricultural development on
the African continent declined considerably in the aftermath of the emergency response marked by
the “food facility” and did not reach that height in any of the subsequent years. The share of this
region in relation to total disbursements made in support of the sector fell to 45 percent in 2015,
which represents the lowest level observed in the period under review. Annual amounts disbursed to
Asian countries decreased even more sharply after 2009, but on average remained higher than the
volumes of agricultural aid provided in the first two years. The developing regions of the Western
hemisphere saw the most pronounced reduction of EU support for agriculture, receiving actually
lower amounts than in the phase preceding the “food facility”. The only region that benefitted from
consistent increases of funding for agriculture represents Europe. Annual disbursements provided to
European countries classifying as ODA recipients grew tenfold since 2009 and the respective share
rose at the expense of all other geographical areas to a quarter of overall ODA spending from EU
institutions in support of agriculture. Evidently, the decisions regarding the allocation of resources to
foster one of the basic development sectors are determined to a considerable extent by political
factors instead of considerations grounded in human rights and needs.
23
Table 9. EU: ODA Grants for Agriculture by Major Regions (Euro million)
Regions
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Africa
253
266
725
520
318
635
639
101
509
Asia
62
71
374
110
82
160
127
202
128
Latin America & Caribbean
65
51
141
70
71
117
141
36
80
82
156
Oceania
4
8
6
10
7
6
26
Europe
23
131
130
240
168
235
201
Not specified
Total
-
5
58
48
23
27
58
50
90
52
99
465
574
1,399
978
704
1,204
1,224
473
976
Disbursements
Africa
217
257
494
403
309
320
348
437
379
Asia
69
76
201
127
119
98
108
87
134
Latin America & Caribbean
84
73
120
103
61
67
71
53
64
Oceania
4
4
3
5
4
8
7
8
13
Europe
23
15
19
34
96
37
54
134
208
Not specified
Total
49
18
5
27
15
9
24
21
44
445
442
842
698
606
539
613
739
841
For a precise comparison of regional financing flows, however, it is necessary to take into account the
respective population size. Table 10 shows the amounts disbursed per capita in support of
agriculture for the developing regions excluding India and China, which due to its exceptionally large
populations would distort the picture. The most striking observation is that Sub-Saharan Africa ranks
only second after Europe in 4 of the last 5 years and the disparity increased significantly in the most
recent period. Looking at the whole 5-year period from 2011 to 2015, the average annual
disbursement allocated per inhabitant of the European region (0.66 euro) was twice that given to
Africa south of Sahara (0.33 euro). And the mean amount of assistance provided to Europe over this
time was 4 to 5 times higher than the support granted to South and Central Asia or to North and
Central America, where several countries with relatively low food security indicators are located.
Moreover, it is noteworthy that the amount received in recent years by Sub-Saharan Africa remains
significantly below the level seen during the main phase of implementing the “food facility”.
Table 10. EU: ODA Disbursements for Agriculture per Capita by Regions (Euro)
Regions
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Disbursements
Global
0.08
0.08
0.15
0.12
0.11
0.09
0.10
0.12
0.14
Africa South of Sahara
0.23
0.29
0.53
0.39
0.26
0.32
0.33
0.38
0.35
Africa North of Sahara
0.16
0.10
0.14
0.17
0.13
0.13
0.06
0.30
0.06
North & Central America
0.29
0.19
0.35
0.29
0.15
0.14
0.18
0.16
0.15
South & Central Asia excl. India
0.08
0.08
0.25
0.15
0.13
0.11
0.11
0.08
0.18
Far East Asia excl. China
0.03
0.04
0.09
0.05
0.05
0.03
0.02
0.02
0.02
Europe
0.15
0.10
0.12
0.21
0.61
0.24
0.34
0.84
1.29
For a differentiated perspective that takes account of varying situations of food availability within
major regions the next Table presents the per capita amounts disbursed by country groups according
to levels of average dietary energy supply adequacy (ADESA). Taken together, the 13 countries with
the lowest values of nation-wide food availability received considerably more support for agriculture
than the global average. Notwithstanding the fluctuations from year to year, this comparatively high
allocation can be observed over the entire study period. And nearly all countries received aboveaverage assistance, with the exceptions of Congo and DPR Korea. The annual disbursements made to
24
this group with the most urgent needs were also on the rise during recent years, but did not reach
the peak level seen in 2009. However, the increase of commitments in 2015 (to 0.97 euros) may lead
to a further growth of disbursements provided to this country group.
For the following categories, we can observe a descending order regarding the ODA disbursements in
support of agriculture. In principle, these distribution patterns indicate that in broad terms the
allocation process takes account of the humanitarian and development needs. However, the second
group that is at high risk of generalized food deficits receives relatively low per capita amounts,
which are still far from reaching the level seen during the main years of implementing the “food
facility” (even when excluding India).
Table 11. EU: ODA Disbursements for Agriculture per Capita by ADESA Groups (Euro)
Group
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Disbursements
Below 100
0.36
0.43
0.55
0.49
0.29
0.37
0.41
0.45
0.50
From 100 to 109, excl. India
0.13
0.15
0.36
0.28
0.19
0.19
0.19
0.16
0.18
From 110 to 119
0.11
0.10
0.17
0.13
0.10
0.09
0.13
0.07
0.13
From 120 to 129, excl. China
0.09
0.09
0.19
0.14
0.10
0.13
0.08
0.07
0.11
From 130 to 139
0.04
0.06
0.10
0.08
0.06
0.06
0.09
0.12
0.07
140 and more
0.15
0.08
0.05
0.14
0.41
0.10
0.16
0.76
0.86
Note: Groupings are based on average values of ADESA over the period in order to define constant groups allowing comparison across
years.
Especially in the most recent years, the top group with the best indicators of food availability
received the highest per capita amounts of development assistance for agriculture. This result is
mainly driven by the exceptionally elevated volumes of aid going to Turkey, which accounts for
roughly 36 percent of the aggregate population of this country category. In contrast, the 3 countries
belonging to North Africa, i.e. Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, saw only low to average levels of support.
All in all, the detailed analysis of aid allocation regarding the agriculture sector reveals a substantial
inconsistency. On the one hand, the overall distribution appears to be in line with differing degrees
of need giving on average higher priority to those countries that show higher risks of food insecurity.
On the other hand, the predetermined preference for countries identified as potential future EU
members or located in the European neighbourhood regions has ultimately led to striking distortions
of the distribution structure.
Furthermore, the average amounts allocated to these country groups mask the extreme variability of
EU support for agricultural development, both across countries and over time. This holds true even
when looking exclusively at the countries with the most pressing needs. For the 33 countries, which
exhibited average ADESA estimates below 110 percent (excluding India and DPR Korea from this
category), the annual amounts disbursed on average for agriculture in the years 2014 and 2015 is
estimated at 0.25 euros. Of these, 6 received annual disbursements of less than 0.125 euros over the
years 2014 and 2015. Recent volumes of commitments indicate that this number could double in the
coming years, i.e. more than one third of the countries with the most extreme food insecurity would
get less than 50 percent of the average going to this category.
On the other side, only 5 of these countries, including the Central African Republic, Djibouti, Namibia,
Swaziland and Timor-Leste, actually received more than 1 euro per capita on average in the last 2
years. The main factor that determines the relatively high intensity of agricultural support in these
25
cases is simply the small population size, ranging from 0.9 to 4.9 million in 2015. Taken together, the
10.8 million inhabitants of these top recipients in relative terms represent only a tiny fraction, just
1.15 percent, of the nearly 940 million people that live in the priority group of countries. Frequently,
EU assistance for agriculture in these smaller countries depends on a very limited number of projects
or, in extreme cases, is mainly provided through one aid activity. This may explain the pronounced
volatility of disbursement levels over the years, which may also lead to a rapidly changing pattern of
distribution. For instance, amounts disbursed per capita for Djibouti were close to zero since 2012
and then jumped to nearly 4.8 euros in the year 2015. In the case of Namibia, disbursement levels
fell from close to 2.7 euros at the beginning of the study period to just 0.12 euros in 2011, and then
saw a marked increase to more than 1.5 euros in the latest years. In Timor-Leste a continuous decline
of ODA grants in support of agriculture took place between 2012 and 2015 from more than 4.6 to
less than 0.6 euros.
The variable dynamics of aid allocation gives rise to questions regarding essential aspects such as
sustainability and predictability, which merit a more detailed analysis of EU cooperation for
agriculture with priority countries characterized by critical situations of food insecurity. Specifically,
further investigation is required to assess to what extent reasonable criteria such as the necessity of
initial investments in agricultural infrastructure, the response to particular needs on the sub-national
level or division of labour among donors, just to name a few, can explain the unequal and volatile
picture of resource distribution.
Another critical issue arises when looking at both central dimensions together, i.e. regional
distribution and subsector allocation, as presented in Table 12. Remarkably, the ODA disbursements
for specific projects to foster food crop production in Sub-Saharan Africa declined almost
continuously since 2009 to just a quarter of the amount reached in that peak year. In contrast, the
financial support for industrial or export crops nearly approached the level observed at the beginning
of the implementation of the “food facility” and, in recent years, it was twice as high as the grants for
food production. At the same time, targeted assistance for livestock production has increased over
the last 5 years and has outstripped the amount disbursed for programmes with a focus on food
availability. In relative terms, the share of specific support for food production in the Sub-Saharan
region increased from less than 6 percent to nearly 19 percent as a result of the implementation of
the “food facility” and then fell again to a level of about 6 percent in 2014 to 2015. Even though this
percentage is higher than that observed for EU assistance in support of agriculture in other
developing regions, it represents a small proportion, especially when considering the vast needs in
many countries of Africa south of the Sahara.
Even when focusing the analysis on the countries with the worst (known) food security indicators
here defined by ADESA values below 110, aid for specific projects aiming to enhance food production
fell sharply from nearly 55 million euros in 2009 to about 11 million euros in 2015. Due to the
growing population living in this group of 33 countries, the respective amounts disbursed per capita
diminished from 0.07 euros to 0.01 euros over the same time period. The number of countries in this
category that at least received 0.1 euros per head was reduced from 8 to 3, while the total of
countries that did not obtain any specific support increased from 14 to 19.
26
Table 12. EU: ODA for Agriculture in Africa South of Sahara by Subsector (Euro million)
Subsectors
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Agriculture, general
128
117
550
282
145
346
418
77
4
3
56
8
5
35
20
5
-
104
50
34
68
82
124
51
1
-
4
4
20
40
59
25
12
91
29
7
4
22
28
4
37
Total
253
265
689
405
236
586
541
86
505
Agriculture, general
140
162
276
215
136
196
190
256
231
7
12
80
42
27
27
29
20
21
Industrial or export crops
13
32
47
33
35
27
42
37
41
Livestock
11
15
23
14
17
22
29
35
37
General Budget Support
15
19
25
33
17
21
24
20
17
186
240
452
337
232
294
314
368
347
Food crop production
Industrial or export crops
Livestock
General Budget Support
-
-
448
20
Disbursements
Food crop production
Total
This negative trend is clearly not consistent with the declared objective to achieve self-sufficiency of
food production in the areas and populations at highest risk of hunger. On the other side, projects
and programmes with sector-wide approaches or spanning over several subsectors account for the
bulk of agricultural support in most countries and regions representing, e.g. in Sub-Saharan Africa,
roughly 70 percent of disbursements in support of agriculture when leaving out imputed flows
through general budget support. Therefore, as noted in the previous chapter on ODA flows by
subsector, further analysis is required aiming to identify and quantify funding for components
oriented towards increasing food production and availability within broader programme approaches.
A conclusive assessment of EU support for food security would need to determine the evolving
proportion of the respective interventions within major programmes that foster agricultural
development in general or span across several subsectors.
Significance of Support for Central Policy Objectives Related to
Agricultural Development
Overview of the Main Research Themes
In addition to the main goal of quantifying ODA grants for agricultural development and its
distribution by subsectors and different analytical categories, the project-level research intended to
track the flows in support of specific target populations and policy objectives that are of particular
priority for poverty reduction and human development at present and in the long run. In this regard,
the investigation focused on support for smallholders, the promotion of gender equality and
ecological sustainability of agricultural activities.
FAO estimates that 1.5 billion people live in smallholder households (working on up to 10 hectares)
out of a total of 2.5 billion people in poor countries depending directly on the food and agriculture
sector.viii According to recent information, 1.4 billion poor people are living worldwide in extreme
poverty with incomes per capita of less than 1.25 US$ a day. One billion of them settle in rural areas,
where agriculture is the main source of livelihood.ix In many parts of the developing world small
family farms provide over 80 percent of the food consumed. And yet, smallholder households are
facing particularly high rates of marginalization, poverty and food insecurity. In rural areas of Sub-
27
Saharan Africa over half of the population is extremely poor, while among rural people of South Asia
the poverty rate exceeds 25 percent.
Overall, women constitute 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, but
represent about half in Africa south of Sahara and in parts of East and Southeast Asia. In many cases,
women bear a primary responsibility for the production of food crops and help to secure the
livelihoods of smallholder families. Gaining equal access to land and other productive resources as
men would allow for a major boost of farm productivity and, according to FAO estimates, could lift
100-150 million people out of hunger.x
With their common experience and unique knowledge of local conditions, smallholders are in the
position to make critical contributions for developing adapted practices of agricultural production.
Taking into account their sheer number, their urgent needs of socioeconomic development as well as
their potential to participate in policy design and implementation, smallholders and especially
women farmers, have a key role to play in agricultural and rural development and, hence, the
cooperation in support of the sector. Accordingly, the Declaration of the World Summit on Food
Security contains the commitment to “building capacity, focusing on integrated actions addressing
policy, institutions and people, with a special emphasis on smallholders and women farmers.”xi
At the same time, the current industrialized system to increase yields and profitability has brought
about negative externalities for the environment, threatening to undermine the resource base of
agricultural development in the future. The effects of land and ecosystem degradation are further
compounded by climate change associated with rising average temperatures, increased
unpredictability of rainfall and extreme anomalies in weather events. In consequence, agricultural
production is predicted to decrease throughout most developing regions, while the effects may differ
in some areas.xii New solutions are necessary in order to conserve the capacity of ecosystems for
agricultural production and, ultimately, maintain the natural resources required for increasing food
security and reducing poverty. The Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security takes up this
critical issue stating that the signatories “will implement sustainable practices, including responsible
fisheries, improved resource use, protection of the environment, conservation of the natural
resource base and enhanced use of ecosystem services.” Furthermore, they declare their will to
“take necessary steps to enable all farmers, particularly women and smallholder farmers from
countries most vulnerable to climate change, to adapt to, and mitigate the impact of, climate change
through appropriate technologies and practices that improve the resilience of farming systems, thus
enhancing their food security.”xiii
The considerations and commitments outlined above underscore the importance of the research
themes with regard to agricultural development. Unfortunately, the official information systems on
aid activities lack a specific dimension for indicating the target groups, let alone the respective
budget shares. The project descriptions reported to the databases or found through web-based
search in general are not detailed enough to determine the amounts or proportions going to certain
components. In the absence of the required data for a quantitative estimate of the assistance in
support of the policy objectives the research partners opted for using more qualitative categories.
Thus, all aid activities fostering agriculture are classified according to their documented level of
support to promote the three objectives under review discerning three levels of relevance, which are
defined as follows:
28



The first category encompasses projects that are found to pursue the respective issue as
their principal objective. It includes all cases in which the project approach as a whole is
designed to serve the respective purpose. Further it comprises aid activities oriented at
smallholder farmers or women as the main target groups. Additionally, those programmes
are categorized in this group, for which the analysis determined that 50 percent or more of
the components or budget items aim to foster the specific subjects.
The second category referred to as significant objective comprises projects that have one or
more sub-programmes conceived to address the respective policy objective, but involving
less than half of the total funding amount. Likewise, a project covered a specific topic as a
significant objective whenever its general approach contained the subject in its design and
activities, e.g. as a cross-cutting issue.
The third and last category includes the remaining cases, in which the specific policy
objectives do not feature in the project approach at all or represent merely marginal
aspects.
The classification of aid activities in support of agriculture according to these broad categories does
not permit to calculate the respective flows project by project as was done for the quantification of
agricultural aid presented in previous chapters. The determination of ODA commitments and
disbursements that specifically promote the policy objectives would require a more detailed analysis
of the budget structure of a representative sample of programmes that was beyond this phase of the
research. Moreover, the classification depends on the completeness of project descriptions, which in
many cases did not reach the required quality, contained considerable inconsistencies or were not
available at all. Another limitation lies in the concentration of the project-level review on the
determination of aid flows for agriculture and its subsectors that was complicated due to the
aforementioned reporting problems. Therefore, the presentation of the proportional funding for the
designed project categories in the following chapters needs to be interpreted with caution.
Nevertheless, it allows tracking the orientation of development aid for agriculture towards the
priority subjects in an approximate way.
Frequency and Importance of Cooperation with Smallholder Farmers
Overall, the results of the analysis demonstrate once again the positive effect of the implementation
of the “food facility”. This phase did not only see a considerable increase of the amounts committed
and disbursed to projects that explicitly supported smallholder farmers, but also an important rise of
the respective proportion in relation to total funding for agriculture. In the aftermath of that special
effort, the disbursements declined both in absolute and relative terms. Whereas the aid volumes
involved in projects that foster small-scale farming households did not fall to the low level observed
at the beginning of the study period, their share in overall disbursements was reduced to the same
low degree of significance. However, the support to smallholder farmers could gain more importance
again considering that the respective commitments showed a substantial increase in the year 2015.
The positive trend seen recently is mainly produced through the increase of funding for projects that
support smallholders as a significant objective, while the aid destined to activities geared primarily to
this target group remained lower compared to the peak of the year 2009. This tendency could
indicate that the smallholder support activities are increasingly integrated in broader sector
approaches in the field of agricultural development. It is important to remember that only a part of
these flows is going to smallholder households, which in the case of the second category represents
29
less than half of the indicated amounts. Therefore, the main conclusion of the analysis is that merely
a minor proportion of aid for agriculture explicitly targets the populations most in need.
Table 13. EU: ODA for Agriculture in Support of Smallholder Farmers (Euro million)
Level of Relevance
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Principal objective
36
11
160
69
58
24
99
6
91
Significant Objective
80
53
159
101
150
67
254
86
312
Total amount
Both levels as % of all flows for agriculture
116
65
320
170
209
91
353
23.4%
17.7%
29.8%
7.7%
29.7%
20.0%
43.0%
2.4%
11.7%
7.2%
8.4%
8.3%
479
1,366
963
700
26.3%
13.5%
Principal objective as % of all flows for agric.
8.1%
Total, excl. General Budget Support
441
2.0%
1,178
93
403
1.4%
9.7%
1,190
465
936
Disbursements
Principal objective
15
17
77
58
39
30
38
45
34
Significant Objective
72
62
165
102
76
62
111
91
135
Total amount
242
160
116
149
136
168
20.5%
18.7%
29.8%
24.3%
19.9%
17.8%
25.3%
19.0%
20.5%
Principal objective as % of all flows for agric.
3.5%
4.1%
9.4%
8.8%
6.7%
5.9%
6.5%
6.3%
4.1%
Total, excl. General Budget Support
422
421
813
658
584
512
588
713
821
Both levels as % of all flows for agriculture
87
79
91
A differentiated analysis demonstrates that the level of support for small-scale farming in Africa
south of Sahara surpasses the global average shares in nearly all years by some percentage points.
The regional proportion of aid targeting smallholders as principal or significant objective also reached
its peak in 2009 with a third of total disbursements in support of agriculture and then decreased to
roughly a quarter in the final years of the study period. Over the years, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania
and East Asia represent the regions with the highest proportional significance of smallholder support
when considering both relevance levels, followed by South and Central Asia and North and Central
America. As the respective values for the European region are close to zero, the declining overall
tendency may at least partially reflect the growing share of ODA grants for agriculture allocated to
countries that are considered candidates for EU membership.
Taking into account the whole period of research, there are 14 individual countries where EU
disbursements for programmes benefitting at least partially smallholder farmers represent more
than half of the total amounts received in support of agriculture. Of these, 9 or nearly two thirds are
located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Regarding only flows for aid activities classified as pursuing
smallholder support as principal objective, the proportion of total volumes disbursed across the
years exceeds 25 percent in 12 countries, of which 8 or again two out of three are to be found in the
region south of Sahara. These numbers suggest that in quite a few cases the aid disbursements for
agriculture may have predominantly targeted smallholder farmers.
The investigation by channel of delivery reveals that funds provided through NGOs and UN
Organizations exhibit the highest proportions of support for smallholders. This is true for both the
projects that primarily target this farmer category and the total of activities that at least include a
significant component aiming to this objective. The main difference between these channels consists
in the fact that the contribution shares of annual disbursements made to UN Organizations are
subject to higher fluctuations, whereas the respective flows via NGOs show a more stable proportion
going to smallholder households over the years. With more than four-fifths of amounts disbursed
during the study period, the World Bank constitutes by far the most important recipient of the group
of other multilateral institutions, which exhibits very small flows in support of specific projects for
smallholders, but a relatively high percentage allocated to programmes that include the support to
30
small-scale farming as a significant part of their actions. Overall, public-private partnerships (PPPs)
and networks as well as other channels including teaching and research institutions come closer to
the average regarding the importance attributed to smallholder support, but show enormous
variations between different years.
Table 14. EU: Share of ODA Disbursements for Agriculture Projects Targeting Smallholder Farmers by Channel of
Delivery and according to Level of Relevance
Channel
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Weighted
average
Principal Objective
Public sector
3.3%
4.7%
2.5%
10.6%
4.7%
3.4%
4.0%
2.8%
1.9%
4.1%
12.5%
3.6%
11.9%
6.6%
9.3%
10.0%
11.9%
16.0%
13.3%
11.0%
UN organizations
0.3%
2.2%
19.4%
7.3%
14.2%
7.5%
7.6%
8.4%
2.7%
10.1%
other multilateral institutions
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
1.2%
0.0%
3.8%
0.1%
0.7%
NGO and civil society
PPPs and networks
na
na
na
na
0.0%
6.3%
11.4%
6.6%
6.2%
7.3%
other channels
0.0%
0.0%
22.5%
22.6%
3.9%
4.2%
4.1%
4.2%
3.8%
6.3%
Total
3.5%
4.1%
9.4%
8.8%
6.7%
5.9%
6.5%
6.3%
4.1%
6.4%
Public sector
19.7%
14.8%
11.9%
16.2%
9.2%
5.4%
11.9%
7.7%
9.3%
11.1%
NGO and civil society
22.1%
22.4%
30.6%
23.6%
26.8%
29.0%
31.9%
31.8%
34.7%
25.1%
0.3%
8.6%
52.4%
35.4%
50.6%
24.2%
44.8%
29.5%
31.9%
32.7%
other multilateral institutions
71.8%
65.6%
23.3%
25.9%
6.5%
30.8%
25.3%
39.5%
12.8%
24.9%
PPPs and networks
na
na
na
na
0.0%
9.4%
11.4%
18.1%
21.3%
10.3%
Both Levels of Relevance
UN organizations
other channels
Total
6.5%
0.0%
29.6%
28.9%
8.0%
11.9%
10.2%
10.4%
34.3%
15.8%
20.5%
18.7%
29.8%
24.3%
19.7%
18.0%
25.3%
19.0%
20.5%
19.5%
Funding streams for the public sector show the lowest share of flows for projects and activities with
explicit orientation towards smallholder farmers. Especially for programmes that mainly target this
group with the most urgent needs we have to observe a further decline in recent years falling in 2015
to the lowest level seen during the period under review. On the other side, the detailed analysis
uncovers considerable differences between countries and regions regarding the propensity to invest
in small-scale farming. The highest shares are observed in Sub-Saharan Africa with average values for
the whole period of 9.4 percent for activities classified as aiming at smallholder support as its
principal objective and 20.7 percent for projects falling in the category that fosters these
disadvantaged farmers to a significant extent. Taking into account both programme categories, the
respective proportions of government activities in support of agriculture funded by EU surpass 50
percent in a total of 10 countries, of which 7 belong to the region South of Sahara. In East, South and
Central Asia the overall proportions of public projects for agriculture financed with EU cooperation
are approaching the average of developing countries, while the remaining regions exhibit lower
shares. As the proportional allocations for smallholders are close to zero in the European region, the
declining tendency observed in recent years for the total EU aid for agriculture is related to the
increasing amounts disbursed to this geographical area.
In that respect, it is important to bear in mind the co-responsibility of both partners for planning and
implementing bilateral cooperation activities. Furthermore, some government institutions may
support the smallholder economy to a considerable extent without explicitly mentioning that aspect
in project documents. Further research on relevant country policies would be needed in order to
appropriately assess this issue.
31
The Significance of Support for Gender Equality
Funding for projects oriented towards the promotion of women and men on an equal footing as their
principal objective reaches only a few million euros, representing less than 1 percent of total ODA
grants for agriculture in any year of the study period. The situation looks somewhat brighter with
regard to financing volumes and proportions for programmes that comprise at least significant
activities in order to overcome the marginalization of women belonging to farming households and
contributing to gain a living from agriculture. Starting from a very low level, the importance of this
type of support for gender equality has considerably grown both in absolute and relative terms.
Expectedly, the significant increases of commitments seen in recent years will translate in rising
disbursements in the near future. Considering the urgent needs of rural women living in extreme
poverty and disadvantage, however, the financial effort to foster women farmers still falls short of
what is required.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with one of the highest female participation rates in the agricultural
workforce, the funding proportion for enhancing gender equality remained considerably below
average. And there are no signs that this relative backlog will be reduced. Of the total of new
commitments made for specific countries and regions in the most recent 3-year-phase this priority
region only accounts for roughly 19 percent. The strongest focus on gender equality is to be found in
the disbursements made for programmes in the Asian region, which also received the largest part of
new commitments registered in 2013 to 2015 with nearly two thirds of the total volume.
Table 15. EU: ODA for Agriculture in Support of Gender Equality (Euro million)
Level of Relevance
2007
2008
2009
2010
-
-
-
-
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
Commitments
Principal objective
Significant Objective
Total amount
2
2
1
16
1
20
50
84
-
-
-
118
105
117
16
20
50
84
118
105
117
1.2%
2.0%
7.1%
7.1%
9.9%
22.5%
12.5%
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
963
700
465
936
Both levels as % of all flows for agriculture
0.5%
0.1%
Principal objective as % of all flows for agric.
0.0%
0.0%
Total, excl. General Budget Support
441
479
1,366
Principal objective
2
4
2
4
5
3
3
5
3
Significant Objective
3
11
19
11
18
9
36
18
36
0.0%
1,178
1,190
Disbursements
Total amount
14
21
15
23
12
39
23
39
Both levels as % of all flows for agriculture
1.2%
5
3.4%
2.6%
2.2%
4.0%
2.3%
6.7%
3.2%
4.7%
Principal objective as % of all flows for agric.
0.6%
0.9%
0.2%
0.6%
0.9%
0.6%
0.6%
0.7%
0.3%
Total, excl. General Budget Support
422
421
813
658
584
512
588
713
821
The research identified only 9 countries, for which the overall funding share for projects that
explicitly support gender equality at least as a significant objective transcends 10 percent. Each of the
regions Africa, Asia and Latin America comprise 3 of these countries. All in all, it appears that there is
an urgent need to do more for strengthening the role of women in agricultural cooperation provided
by EU.
Funding for Projects to Foster Ecological Sustainability of Agriculture
Funding geared to the conservation of the natural resource base of agricultural production and the
improvement of its wider ecological functions did not represent an explicit focus of EU-managed aid
in the first years of the study period. Thereafter, the volumes and proportions of commitments
increased significantly. In consequence, the annual amounts of disbursements for both categories of
32
activities that promote ecological sustainability either as a principal or as a significant objective saw a
quite consistent increase in absolute and relative terms. In the more recent phase, however, new
commitments per year showed a contradictory trend. Whereas ODA resources committed to
programmes that include activities oriented at ecological goals among their components were on the
rise, new contributions for projects that primarily intend to conserve the ecosystem were practically
withering away. Hence, it is difficult to make any predictive assertions regarding the level of support
for ecological issues in the coming years.
Table 16. EU: ODA for Agriculture in Support of Ecological Sustainability (Euro million)
Level of Relevance
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
-
-
5
21
14
13
-
23
1
3
3
2014
2015
Commitments
Principal objective
Significant Objective
Total amount
6
6
-
Both levels as % of all flows for agriculture
1.3%
0.0%
Principal objective as % of all flows for agric.
0.0%
0.0%
Total, excl. General Budget Support
441
479
28
23
17
16
2.1%
2.4%
2.4%
1.4%
0.4%
2.2%
2.0%
963
700
1,366
1.1%
1
-
-
2
20
1
52
20
54
0.0%
4.4%
5.7%
0.0%
0.0%
0.2%
1,178
1,190
465
936
Disbursements
Principal objective
3
2
7
3
7
9
11
12
20
Significant Objective
4
4
9
9
11
12
8
14
22
Total amount
7
6
16
12
18
21
19
26
41
Both levels as % of all flows for agriculture
1.6%
1.5%
2.0%
1.9%
3.1%
4.0%
3.3%
3.6%
5.0%
Principal objective as % of all flows for agric.
0.8%
0.5%
0.9%
0.4%
1.1%
1.7%
1.8%
1.7%
2.4%
Total, excl. General Budget Support
422
421
813
658
584
512
588
713
821
Differentiating by developing regions and countries, the research reveals a highly variable picture
with some extreme ups and downs over the years. Regarding the recent phase of the period under
review, the highest proportions of agricultural cooperation allocated to deal with ecological
problems occurred in East Asia, where nearly 27 percent of 2015 disbursements were going to
projects with explicit relevance for this policy objective. With just half of that percentage North and
Central America followed in second place and Sub-Saharan Africa ranked third reaching about 7
percent.
Taking into account the whole 9-year-period, the review identified 22 countries, where the funding in
support of ecological sustainability for both levels of relevance exceeded 10 percent of total
disbursements for agricultural development. Of these, 8 are located in Latin America, 7 belong to the
region South of Sahara, 5 are to be found in Asia and the remaining 2 are situated in Oceania. On the
other side, for 51 countries that received relevant amounts in support of agriculture no specific flow
with explicit ecological objectives was identified. Overall, it appears that the level of support for the
protection of environment in general or for interventions to cope with climate change in particular
was not commensurate with the magnitude of these challenges.
In-depth Review of Evaluation Reports Concerning Smallholder
Support, Gender Equality and Ecological Sustainability
Outline of the Content Analysis
The comprehensive investigation of the EU’s financial contributions to the agriculture sector oriented
at aiding smallholder farmers, promoting gender equality and enhancing ecological sustainability
33
requires a more detailed analysis of relevant project documentation. Hence, the researchers planned
to conduct an in-depth examination of existing evaluation reports. Originally, the research design
intended to establish a representative sample of 100 EU-financed programmes classified as
agriculture-related projects in the preceding review of all relevant projects. Within the time frame of
the first research phase, however, it was only possible to obtain this type of documents for 25 aid
activities. Unfortunately, the evaluation reports commissioned by EU are not published on a regular
basis. Thanks to the cooperation of EU representatives, the research team received the respective
reports for 17 different projects up to now. In addition, the intensive web-based search found
suitable documentation for another eight aid activities to complete the minimum sample number of
25. Regarding the overall duration and workload of the research, it is important to note that the
extra time required for the search of additional information in order to correctly classify the total of
relevant projects was considerably longer than the reduction of working days spent on the in-depth
review due to the lower number of cases.
The choice to carry out a content analysis of evaluation reports was associated with the expectation
that these documents yield the most detailed and comprehensive information on the project reality.
Unlike planning documents, evaluation reports do not solely provide ex ante information, but contain
evidence on the strategies that were finally implemented, which may have changed in relation to the
original intentions. They describe a programme’s actual actions, results and impacts from a
retrospective view and, therefore, should provide insights in eventual adjustments of programme
approaches in response to challenges encountered during the realization phase. Furthermore,
evaluations generally provide the most detailed project data in comparison to alternative
documents. Nonetheless, the examination gained supplementary information from action fiches and
further official reports to complement the evidence obtained from the project evaluations.
Even though the reduced sample has a limited representativeness, the analysis generated enough
information to conclude preliminary findings. As the entirety of the 25 programmes took place in
Sub-Sahara Africa, the results may principally reflect EU cooperation with this region most in need,
according to critical indicators. One of the evaluated projects was a multi-country programme
supporting 68 national farmers’ organizations in 49 African countries. Apart from this exception, all
of the evaluated programmes were country-specific and took place in 11 states of West, East,
Southern and Central Africa. Noticeably, the time frame of the project evaluations ranged from
September 2006 to September 2016.
Findings of the Review of Evaluations Regarding Smallholder Support
According to the content analysis, smallholder support was a principal objective in 5 out of 25
examined projects and a significant objective in another 14 programmes. Therefore, nearly four fifths
of all projects in the sample aimed at strengthening small-scale farming at least through certain
components. It is important to note that in several cases classified here as pursuing the objective to a
significant extent the documents did not specifically refer to supporting smallholder households, but
used a broader category of rural poor. Unfortunately, the respective reports omitted to specify the
structure of this more generalized target group and to determine the approximate share of
smallholders compared to the total number of the rural population defined as poor. Thus, discerning
if the programmes themselves differentiated between smallholders and other portions of the
underprivileged rural populace remained impossible. Regarding the activities categorized as having
little or no explicit relevance for smallholders, some evaluations failed to mention this objective at
all. This inevitably led to the conclusion that in these cases the promotion of the marginalized
34
farmers only represented a marginal issue at best. Notably, one project evaluation criticized that
smallholders did not benefit sufficiently as the programme design abstained from targeting them
deliberately.xiv
Based on available data on the respective components of eight projects reporting smallholder
support among their objectives, the referred size of the area under cultivation receiving support
amounted to 0.84 hectares on average (minimum: 0.04 ha; maximum: 2.99 ha). Yet, numerous
evaluations on programmes that reportedly supported smallholders omitted any specifications on
how many hectares of land the farmers possessed. This lack of concrete information impedes a
representative assessment of smallholders’ typical land possession through inductive method.
Moreover, neither project evaluations nor additional official EU documents specified a definition for
smallholder farmers in terms of land distribution, which in turn rendered utilizing a deductive
approach to determine farming areas impossible. In consequence, there is no definitive clarity
regarding the criteria to define on a general, regional or per country basis which farmers belong to
the smallholder category.
A similar problem becomes apparent when looking at the land use and production systems that are
promoted with the declared aim to enhance the situation of small-scale farmers. Many evaluations
did not state if the intended increase of their agricultural outputs served to satisfy subsistence needs
or was geared towards market demands. The remaining evaluations delivered sufficient information
to differentiate both strategies, namely approaches intending a rise in food production in order to
improve subsistence levels, while simultaneously aiming at surplus production to be sold on local
markets or ventures that primarily focused on market-oriented production of agricultural goods.
However, these reports contribute little to explore the risks of shifting from the former system to the
latter under the peculiar circumstances confronted by smallholders to secure their livelihoods.
Moving from subsistence farming towards market-oriented production, especially when
accompanied by specialisation in one or a few crops, can lead to severe problems arising from price
fluctuations caused by unequal power relations or unexpected market changes as well as harvest
losses due to pests or detrimental climate effects. In the absence of public safety nets, the
subsequent reduction of income may affect food security of smallholder households. Still, the
analysis revealed that a majority of projects promoted food crop production at least as one of several
activities. The second most programmes supported the livestock sector, followed by cash crop
output. Significantly, 12 out of 19 projects that targeted smallholders as principal or significant
objective carried out activities in two or three of these agricultural subsectors at the same time.
Almost all of these programmes contained a combination of crop production and livestock. In many
cases, however, the different components did not work with the same groups of agricultural
producers. Thus, the degree of diversification of the production structure that could help to reduce
the danger of sudden losses of income remains unclear. Even though some of the evaluations on
these projects reported the occurrence of conflicts between growers of agricultural plants and
pastoralists owing to conflictual land distributions and herds damaging crops.
In order to achieve increases in crop output and livestock, projects targeting smallholders as principal
or significant objective carried out water management, soil conservation, organizational support,
agricultural inputs as well as extension and training in most instances. Meanwhile, assistance in
terms of marketing and processing aimed at enhancing household revenues through sales of
agricultural goods in just more than half of the projects.
35
Nonetheless, assessing the impact of these activities on smallholder households turned out to be
inconclusive for some programmes because various evaluations concluded that the time of
implementation was too short. Mid-term reviews referred to this problem repeatedly but a few final
evaluations mentioned this difficulty as well. Even so, analysing the remaining evaluations revealed
that 60 percent of the projects supporting smallholders as principal or significant objective showed
positive effects on these farmer households in form of raised agricultural production, increased
income levels, improved food security and/or enhanced livelihoods. Besides, this was true for almost
all of the projects that supported smallholders as a principal objective. The only exception in this
regard could not demonstrate a positive impact of constructed irrigation schemes and only a minor
effect in terms of animal inputs.xv However, about one third of the projects assisting smallholder
farmers as principal or significant objective barely reached mixed impacts on this target group. In
most cases, this was due to differing results of the sub-programmes. In this regard, three evaluations
found that the impact of water management activities was unsatisfactory and a considerable number
of reports criticized that the project duration was too short in order to achieve the intended
effectiveness completely.
All in all, the fact that many reports lack specific analysis and data on structural conditions of target
populations casts some doubt on the real outcomes in terms of participation of marginalized groups
and orientation towards needs. Accordingly, many project evaluations failed to adequately
differentiate the project beneficiaries by socioeconomic categories. Therefore, it appears uncertain
whether those people most in need within a community received support or better-off persons took
major advantage. Either the respective projects failed to pursue a differentiated approach for
disadvantaged groups or the terms of reference for the evaluations omitted this aspect. In any case,
there is little reason to assume that the respective projects undertook major efforts to develop
tailored solutions with and for deprived populations. In one particular instance, a mid-term
evaluation observed this deficiency and expressed concerns that the project might not have reached
the “poorest-of-the-poor”.xvi The absence of socioeconomic information is specifically disputable
with regards to land tenure because this is one of the most important aspects of agricultural
development, especially when considering the position of smallholders. Tellingly, as reported by the
evaluations, only one of the projects that supported smallholder farmers as principal or significant
objective carried out the distribution of land.xvii Significantly, studying the evaluations yielded no
evidence that the respective projects intended to develop and implement specific approaches to aid
smallholders considering their specific needs, e.g. regarding the fragility of their natural resource
base, the scarcity of economic reserves to mitigate financial risks or their disadvantaged position in
the marketing chain. Therefore, it should be a task of further research to examine the structural
vulnerability of smallholders in the local agricultural system of priority countries and assess to what
extent EU-financed projects in support of agriculture comprise tailor-made strategies to overcome
this situation.
Results of the Project Sample Examination Regarding Gender Equality
Promoting gender equality was a principal objective in only one of the evaluated projects.xviii In this
case, 80 percent of all beneficiaries were women. The programme included distribution of land to
landless people, inputs of animals as well as extension and training. It achieved positive impact on
the lives of the female participants due to increased incomes, enhanced food security and elevated
social status. On the other side, five programmes failed to take into account gender-related aspects,
either for the reason that female participation in the project was very low (10 percent in the case of
36
PASAF, Burkina Faso) or because evaluations omitted to discuss gender aspects at all, at least with
regard to agricultural measures.xix Still, gender equality was a significant objective in the vast majority
of the projects (19 out of 25 projects). This goal was pursued through a range of actions, namely
establishing a minimum percentage of women in their target groups, stepping up female
participation in decision-making processes, targeting women through agricultural activities in subprogrammes or focusing on gender-related topics in sub-programmes. Other elements transcended
the purely agricultural area and encompassed sensitizing against gender-based violence, conducting
gender studies or disseminating gender related information.
In many cases, however, the reports reviewed showed a lack of detailed information on the scope of
activities aiming to promote gender equality. For sub-programmes conceived to support women
through agricultural activities, project evaluations recurrently neglected to indicate the numbers or
proportions of women in relation to all beneficiaries of these components. Concerning projects that
intended to accomplish gender equality through advanced female decision-making, evaluations
about these programmes frequently neither mentioned the percentages of women in decisionmaking processes nor the ultimate effects of female involvement in decision-making on women in
the agriculture sector. According to the evaluations, two projects utilized mandatory quotas in order
to reach satisfactory levels of female participation in a programme’s activities or in decision-making
bodies. This might have been the case for a higher number of projects but ascertaining this was not
possible as many evaluations lacked relevant data. With reference to the agricultural activities
undertaken to support smallholders, almost all of the cases carried out the same actions for female
and male farmers without considering the specific needs of women resulting from their living
conditions and family roles.
In about half of the cases classified as promoting gender equality to a significant extent, the
evaluations confirmed overall positive effects on the incomes, social position and/or the food
security of female farmers. In addition, some evaluations attributed improvements in regard to child
nutrition to positive influences of agricultural interventions on women. On the other side, six
evaluations completely omitted analysing the impact of gender-specific activities. In the remaining
four cases, the reflections and conclusions of the evaluations point to mixed results. Insufficient
participation in decision-making was a frequently mentioned shortcoming of the projects that could
not achieve a confirmed overall positive impact for women. Notably, one project evaluation
concluded that women increased their economic autonomy but that this did not lead to enhanced
social standing.xx This example demonstrates the necessity to include socioeconomic analysis and
data in project evaluations. It also shows that rising incomes do not necessarily result in improved
communal opportunities for women.
Interestingly and rather surprisingly, merely three projects explicitly considered women’s access to
land, despite the fact that land tenure is of critical importance in the agriculture sector. The three
programmes aided women by allocating parcels of land to either female farmers or female-headed
households as well as by supporting disadvantaged women suffering from discriminating customary
land regulations.
Conclusions of the Analysis of Reports with Reference to Ecological
Sustainability
According to the review of evaluations, ecological sustainability was not a principal objective in any
project. Moreover, 11 of 25 programmes omitted ecological sustainability all together. A number of
37
reports did not discuss ecological aspects at all, which leads to the conclusion that the respective
projects give low priority to this policy objective. In other cases, the evaluations mentioned a
project’s impact on ecological sustainability, but either regarded it as marginal or admitted that the
project did not take into account ecological sustainability in its activities.
All the same, more than half of all projects allowed for ecological sustainability considerations in the
form of significant objectives. Out of these programmes, almost the entirety undertook activities to
improve soil conservation. Forestation and physical measures to prevent water erosion (e.g.
construction of stonewalls) attempted to enhance soil conservation most of the times. To a lesser
extent, projects aimed at realising soil conservation through specific farming techniques like
conservation agriculture and the use of natural fertilizers. Furthermore, eight projects combined
measures to reduce soil erosion with activities concerning water conservation or climate change. The
programmes tried to deal with climate change effects by promoting carbon sequestration through
forestation as well as by activities to raise awareness. However, the majority of evaluations did not
discuss the impact of climate change on the project or the climate-related risks the programme will
face in the future. This represents a major gap considering that climate change has the most
detrimental effects on many countries and populations with the highest needs of agricultural
support. This is especially the case for the Sahel region, where many of the evaluated projects took
place. Revealingly, only three projects aimed at improvements in terms of biodiversity, while one of
these programmes did not achieve positive results in this regard.
Concerning the impact of efforts aiming to enhance ecological sustainability, diverse findings become
apparent. For one, in multiple projects the measures to control soil erosion through the planting of
trees did not yield the expected results due to the loss of saplings. Higher success rates were
achieved when the primary goal of forestation activities was carbon sequestration. Additionally,
several evaluations included positive impact on the increase of vegetation cover owing to physical
measures to prevent soil erosion. Contrary to that, components aiming to raise ecological awareness
had limited effects since a few evaluations pointed out the continuous use of pesticides and nonnatural fertilizers. Significantly, some projects carried out activities with unintended consequences
on ecological sustainability. For instance, in two programmes the construction of wells caused a
substantial drop of the phreatic level, which subsequently resulted in a degradation of local
vegetation. Besides, ecological sustainability aspects played a role in merely three out of five projects
that targeted smallholders as principal objective, which raises sustainability concerns for the
remaining two programmes.
Last but not least, analysing the project evaluations sheds light upon the conflicting interests of some
programmes between increasing agricultural productivity and ecological sustainability. For example,
the supply of small ruminants additionally strained the gradually decreasing vegetation in one
project.xxi Another project prioritised the agricultural output of market-oriented cash crops over
ecological sustainability.xxii In several cases, the reports mentioned the risk that the introduction of
new seeds could drive out the traditional varieties of important food crops. These programmes raise
the question if focusing on increased agricultural production at the expense of endangering the
sustainability of agriculture-related activities, and consequently putting long-time outcomes in
jeopardy, is to act short-sightedly.
38
i
End-Term Evaluation of Farm Income Diversification Programme (FIDP) Phase 1 (CRIS/FED/2004/17412) and
Mid-Term Evaluation of FIDP Phase II (CRIS/FED/2009/21346); Annex 8; p. 4.
ii
Generation Integrated Rural Development Consultant: Food Security through Increased Incomes, Assets and
Protection from Grain Price Rises (FS-IAP) Project; Final Evaluation; 2011.
iii
AGRER: Final Evaluation for the Institutional Development across the Agri-Food Sector (IDAF) Project; 2011; p.
36.
iv
Second International Conference on Nutrition: Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Secretariat on the Conference,
Appendix 3; p. 10.
v
WHO: Children: Reducing Mortality; Fact Sheet, Updated September 2016; accessed 01.03.2017.
vi
World Bank: World Development Report 2008; Agriculture for Development; p. 6.
vii
Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations: 2014 Revision of
World Urbanization Prospects; https://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/; accessed 28.02.2017.
viii
FAO: Smallholders' Ecology; See: http://www.fao.org/nr/sustainability/smallholders-ecology/en/; accessed
28.02.2017.
ix
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD): Smallholders, Food Security, and the Environment;
2013; p. 6.
x
FAO: Sustainability Pathways Factsheets; "Smallholders and Family Farmers"; 2012.
xi
Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security: Paragraph 19.
xii
IFAD: idem; 2013; p. 21.
xiii
Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security: Paragraph 27.
xiv
Délégation de l'Union européenne au Cameroun: Evaluation à Mi-Parcours du Programme d’Amélioration de
la Productivité Agricole au Cameroun; 2014; p. 22, 24.
xv
European Commission Delegation to Ethiopia: Annual Implementation Report, including 4th Quarter
Achievements: Enhancing Agricultural Productive Capacities of Resource Poor Farmers in Enemurena Ener and
Mirab Badewacho Districts, (SNNPRS, Ethiopia); 2011; p. 17-18.
xvi
AGRER: Mid-Term Evaluation for the KASAL Programme in Kenya; 2010; p. 11.
xvii
Generation Integrated Rural Development Consultant: Food Security through Increased Incomes, Assets and
Protection from Grain Price Rises (FS-IAP) Project, Final Evaluation; 2011; p. 24.
xviii
Generation Integrated Rural Development Consultant: Food Security through Increased Incomes, Assets and
Protection from Grain Price Rises (FS-IAP) Project; Final Evaluation; 2011.
xix
EEA/SOS Sahel/Welthungerhilfe/CIRDES/CILSS: Programme d’Amélioration de la Sécurité Alimentaire par la
Fertilisation des Sols au Burkina Faso; 2012; p. 34.
xx
AGRECO: Programme de Sécurité Alimentaire et Nutritionnelle, Burkina Faso, Evaluation Environnementale
et Sociale Stratégique; 2012; p. 35.
xxi
AGRECO: Programme de Sécurité Alimentaire et Nutritionnelle, Burkina Faso, Evaluation Environnementale
et Sociale Stratégique; 2012; p. 39.
xxii
CA 17 International: Final Evaluation of the Cocoa Sector Support Programme Phase II; 2012.
39
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