New Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation policy submitted to Dutch Parliament Identifies Global Food Security as Key Priority

On 24 June 2022, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Liesje Schreinemacher, presented her new policy ‘Doing what the Netherlands is good at in a letter to parliament. The policy outlines a strategic approach towards intensifying efforts within the domain of global food security.

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The Netherlands plans to make extra investments in foreign trade and development cooperation, whilst recognising the importance of Dutch businesses combining their knowledge and expertise with an enterprising spirit. The government plans to encourage them to take the plunge and increase the amount of business they carry out in developing countries, and introduce more focus towards connecting Dutch businesses with development resources. This will create mutual benefits for the countries concerned and the Netherlands. The key objectives of development cooperation are combatting the root causes of poverty, terror, irregular migration and climate change as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs).

Food and nutrition security features prominently in the new policy. The Minister ’s letter refers to the fact that 805 million people are at risk of hunger and malnutrition. An extra effort will be made by the Netherlands to achieve food security, taking into consideration environmental aspects and biodiversity. The government will focus on sustainable, local, small-scale food production, while investing in research, innovation, technical and vocational training and improved land rights (particularly for women). As the Netherlands has a lot of expertise in food and nutrition security, the government wants to make sure this proactively contributes to achieving the following goals by 2030:

  • End malnutrition for at least 32 million people.
  • Doubling the productivity and incomes of 8 million small-scale food producers.
  • Ecologically sustainable land use of 8 million hectares of farmland.

Both digitalisation and data are part of the efforts to reach these goals, for example applying digital meteorological services to support farmers in their agricultural practices.

The policy note details that the development budget will increase. Ultimately, an additional €500 million per year will be made available. The Netherlands will use this money to do more in fewer countries and in fewer areas. The focus will be on what the Netherlands is good at – water, agriculture and sexual and reproductive health and rights, for example. The Sahel, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and North Africa will continue to be the focus regions of policy because of the extreme poverty that exists there. The humanitarian aid budget will also rise by €150 million to €520 million a year.

Read the full policy note online (in Dutch), or a summary (in English)

NFP online briefings on the new policy: focus on food and nutrition security

To prepare for the parliamentary debate on the new policy on 4 July, NFP will help engage the food and nutrition security community in this policy process by organising a network event to discuss this letter on 30 June. Following the parliamentary debate, a second reflection meeting will be organised on 7 July.

To join these briefings, please register here

Background: policy consultation process March-April 2022

Earlier this year, the Ministry organised a policy consultation that gathered inspiration and views from stakeholders in the private sector, knowledge institutes, civil society organisations and others, which resulted in input from over 230 organisations.

View a summary of the outcomes here

In line with this consultation, NFP hosted a network meeting with food and nutrition security stakeholders on 5 April, 2022. This session emphasised the need for longer term, systems approaches where multi-stakeholder processes are supported by partnership building and knowledge brokering. Moreover, this should be driven locally - where embassies can play a significant role in creating coherence between the various agendas and priorities within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

View the outcomes of that consultation here