Agriculture and food security

Agriculture in a desert area

Action taken by Belgian Development Cooperation in the domain of agriculture and food security can be either humanitarian or structural.

Humanitarian actions

For the most urgent needs in case of food shortages, Belgium provides food aid through the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Relief & Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Belgium advocates not using any of its own (excess) food in such contexts, but rather buying as much food aid as possible from farmers in the South. In that way, food aid does not disrupt local markets. In the wake of a crisis, through the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), we support projects designed to rebuild devastated agricultural production systems.

Structural interventions

DGD supports structural interventions to sustainably increase food production in developing countries. This is done in direct collaboration with the governments in our partner countries as agriculture is a priority sector in most Indicative Cooperation Programmes (ICPs). The Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) also supports the expansion of private companies active in the agricultural sector.

Through multilateral cooperation, the sector attracts the attention it requires, both via the European Union and through our financing of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the specialised UN agencies IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and FAO. Finally, many of the NGOs funded by DGD are active in the agricultural sector.

Food security is not just about agricultural production. The affected population must also be able to buy enough food. The Belgian Fund for Food Security (BFFS) was specially set up to improve the food security situation for the most vulnerable population groups and in the poorest African countries. The Fund adopts an integrated and multisectoral approach, engaging in actions geared not only towards boosting agricultural and food production and securing the drinking water supply, but also improving healthcare, basic education and other fundamental social benefits.

Click here to learn more about the Belgian Fund for Food Security.

Priority sector

In 2008, Belgium decided to substantially step up its efforts to support agriculture and rural development. By 2010, Belgium should be spending 10% of its official development assistance (ODA) in these domains, with that percentage due to rise to 15% by 2015.

Strategy note

 Strategy note 'Agriculture and Food Security' (PDF, 2.84 MB) (2017)