Agriculture & rural development
With over 70% of the world’s poor living in rural areas, support to agriculture and rural development is fundamental for reducing poverty and boosting growth. Moreover, up to 90% of the population in many developing countries depend on agriculture and farming for their living, as these provide income, employment and food, as well as raw materials for industry and exports.
On 8 April 2009, the Commission presented a Communication on Supporting developing countries in coping with the crisis. Among the proposed measures, the Communication underlines the need to speed up financing for agriculture and to invest in agricultural corridors.
For the period 2007-2013, the EU’s support to agriculture and rural development is financed through two types of instruments:
- Geographical instruments supporting the implementation of sectoral policy at national, regional and continental levels, under theEuropean Development Fund (in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries), the Development Co-operation Instrument (in Latin America, Asia and South Africa), and the European Neigbourhoud & Partnership Instrument (in the neighbouring regions);
- Thematic instruments under the DCI, such as the Food Security Thematic Programme, financing structural support to food security including agricultural research & extension and Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP) countries which help 18 countries to adjust to the new sugar trade regime with the EU;
- Ad hoc instruments such as the € 1 billion Food Facility for rapid response to soaring food prices in developing countries whose objectives include boosting in the short to medium-term agriculture in selected countries.
The EU policy for rural development in developing countries aims at reducing poverty, increasing food security and protecting natural resources. To do so, its assistance pursues the following goals:
- Promote broad-based rural economic growth, by boosting primary production and make it more efficient, promoting agricultural practices and technologies that are environmentally sustainable and raise rural income, and by stimulating rural off-farm activities;
- Ensure more equitable and more securing access to land for the rural poor;
- Reduce vulnerability to risks;
- Strengthen veterinary and plant health services in order to control diseases that affect animals and crops, and to ensure that safer products reach the food chain;
- Improve access to markets by building necessary infrastructure, and to advisory and financial services;
- Support agricultural research and dissemination;
- Enhance education and training;
- Build more effective, accountable, decentralised and participatory institutions.
The Commission is a member of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development whose goal is achieving increased development assistance impact and more effective investment in rural development and agriculture. To this end, the EC also fosters sectoral approaches in its rural and agriculture development programmes.