Dutch Development Results 2015: Food and Nutrition Security highlights
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released an online magazine which highlights results of their development agenda. It captures the contribution the Netherlands has made in 2015 to ban poverty and promote sustainable and inclusive growth around the world through the combined agenda for aid, trade and investment. In 2015, the Food and Nutrition Security program directly affected millions of undernourished people. A similar number was also reached indirectly. The Netherlands wishes to structurally support (cumulatively) 32 million people with their malnutrition between 2016 and 2030 and thereby contribute to Global Goal 2: end hunger and eradicate malnutrition.
A World to Gain
The main objectives of this development agenda were set out in the 2013 policy letter of Minister Ploumen titled, “A World to Gain: A New Agenda for Aid, Trade and Investment” which focused on: the eradication of extreme poverty (“getting to zero”) in a single generation; sustainable inclusive growth all over the world; and success for Dutch companies abroad. In implementing this agenda, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been operating in various roles: initiator, sponsor, funder, partner, broker and diplomat. Their aim has been to promote strategic dialogue and cooperation with companies, development organizations, the European Union, multilateral organizations, governments of low and middle income countries, civil society organizations, and knowledge institutions. The policy’s main focus has been connected to thematic areas where the Netherlands has a significant position to make a difference, including, amongst others, Food and Nutrition Security.
Food and Nutrition Security Results
The Food and Nutrition Security policy of the Netherlands aims to directly contribute to the targets of Global Goal 2: end hunger and malnutrition; double productivity and income of smallholders; and ensure sustainable, (climate) resilient food production systems by 2030. They also aim to contribute to the improvement of essential enabling conditions such as land tenure security, knowledge infrastructure, and institutional capacities. Quite a lot has been achieved but more efforts are still needed. The following subthemes deserve special attention in this policy: reduce malnutrition; promote agricultural growth; create ecologically sustainable food systems; and the enabling environment.
Malnutrition remains a serious problem and it affects far more people than the 10% who are trapped in extreme poverty. In 2015, approximately 18 million people were supported with the improvement of their nutritional situation through the Dutch policy, 10 million more than in 2014. This significant increase can be related to the successful UNICEF programs in Burundi, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Rwanda. These efforts focused on improvement of food intake by, amongst other things, the provision of food supplements and vitamin tablets. By 2020, the aim is to annually support at least 20 million people in this way to improve their nutritional situation.
Promote agricultural growth
To promote agricultural growth, the Netherlands aims to help smallholder farmers through improvements in the provision of training, better seeds, financial services, storage and processing, infrastructure, transport, and organization. In 2015, 7.1 million farmers were reached directly (4.1 million in 2014), and there is now the ambition to increase this to 8 million by 2030.
Create ecologically sustainable food systems
Ecological sustainability is realized through structural improvements in management and use of land, water, soil, nutrients and agrobiodiversity, both on farm as well as in surrounding areas. In 2015, 2.4 million hectares were reached directly (0.5 in 2014), while the 2030 ambition for the Netherlands is to reach at least 7.5 million hectares outside of the current area used by 500 million smallholder food producers worldwide.
Better conditions still need to be created to enable Food and Nutrition Security. Priorities include tenure security, knowledge infrastructure and institutional capacities. In 2015, the Netherlands reached around 2 million farmers with new knowledge and technologies through tailor-made approaches.
Further details on the results of the Netherlands’ contribution to each of these subthemes can be found here.
Food and Nutrition Security Policy Highlights 2015
- 1 million people now have access to more and better quality food through domestic crop cultivation, drought-resistant water supplies, and the availability of enriched food and targeted supply of food supplements.
- 1 million small-scale farmers were made more resilient to droughts, floods and storms through training in and adoption of more robust production techniques.
Connections between Themes
The policy results also highlighted connections between different themes. In relation to Food and Nutrition Security, emphasis was placed on climate change, water, private sector development and WRGE.
Climate change affects the agricultural sector and undermines food security. To limit this negative impact, the Netherlands has focused on improving agricultural productivity in the context of climate change, and on helping smallholder farmers to adapt climate-smart agriculture techniques. To support mitigation and adaptation projects, the Netherlands spent €428 million in 2015 on climate finance.
Water is essential for Food and Nutrition Security in three ways: water is needed for preparation and cooking of food; it is essential for plant and animal production; and water needs to be managed on the level of landscapes. The Netherlands’ goal is to increase water productivity (crop yield per unit of water) by 25% by 2017 compared to the 2009 baseline. Six target partner countries (Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan, Palestinian Territories, Mozambique and Rwanda) are heading in the right direction with water productivity increasing by 18% for maize, which is the main staple food in these countries.
Private sector development, access to markets, finance, infrastructure (roads, water, and energy), insurance, technology, and training in sustainable production practices are all important conditions farmers need to develop their business and increase Food and Nutrition Security. To support the economic position of farmers, the Netherlands has focused on the strengthening of farmer organizations and reliable economic institutions, laws and regulations. To facilitate market access and sustainable trade, the Netherlands wishes to reduce the average import time to 2.3 days in 2017 in comparison to 6.6 days in 2015.
In regards to women’s rights & gender equality, the Netherlands acknowledges that rural women play a decisive role in food security, dietary diversity and children’s health. In 2015, over 88,000 women were served with productive resources. A dedicated effort is now needed to provide female farmers with credit, land titles, (information) technology, renewable energy, infrastructure and access to markets.
For past information on Dutch Food and Nutrition Security results, please see the F&BKP Dutch policy developments on Food and Nutrition Security update here (December 2015).