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Agriculture, hunger and Swedish aid

Published: 23 September 2022
Three women carrying wood in Africa.

How is the Swedish aid distributed to agriculture and food security? It was one of the main questions asked at a seminar hosted by EBA (Expert Group for Aid Studies) and Sida in Stockholm in mid-September. Experts within both agriculture, food security and aid participated sharing their knowledge on how Swedish aid is contributing to improvement in low-income countries.

The seminar focused on two analyses recently published about Swedish aid and agriculture in low-income countries. 

The first report by Mats Hårsmar, Deputy Managing Director at EBA, describes ways to reduce poverty in low income countries while the second one written by a team from SEI (Stockholm Environment Institute) focuses on the Swedish aid in numbers. 

Agriculture, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction

What are the most effective ways to reduce poverty in low-income countries? During long, a debate has been waging over the role of agriculture and the agricultural sector in poverty reduction. Historically, today’s rich countries have almost all started their journeys to prosperity by developing their agricultural sectors. But is this ‘agriculture first’ hypothesis still valid for today’s poor countries, given fundamentally changed preconditions? - EBA about the report Agriculture, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction.

Mapping the Swedish aid to agriculture

Agricultural development has strong poverty reduction leverage in low-income countries. Still, in Swedish development cooperation aid to agriculture, forestry and fishery constitute meagre shares. During 2005 to 2020 official statistics showed a relatively stable agricultural share of around 3 percent of the aid budget, and some 5,5 percent of funds distributed by Sida. However, is this the true picture? A recent mapping, commissioned by the Expert Group for Aid Studies indicate severe underreporting. - EBA about the report Mapping the Swedish aid to agriculture.

Key conclusions (period 2005-2020) from the report Mapping the Swedish aid to agriculture: 

  1. Swedish aid to agriculture was directed at sub-Saharan Africa
  2. The Swedish aid to agriculture was lower compared to other donor countries
  3. A lot of the agriculture aid was distributed under other labels (e.g. climate adaptation) 
  4. If including the aid distributed to agriculture under other labels, the percentage is significant higher. 


Watch the seminar? Follow the link! 

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