Understanding the Agriculture sector
For more details on Methodology click here. For more details on terminology click here.
All graphs on this page are interactive, hover over them to see more.
Last Updated 8th February 2023.
Due to the unique characteristics of the Agriculture Sector, we won’t be producing funding forecasts for 2022.
Unlike many of the other sectors on this site, Agriculture is not commonly separated from other clusters and sectors in humanitarian contexts. There were only eight contexts in 2021 that had a separate Agriculture funding requirement. These were: the Northern Ethiopia Response ($71m funding requirement), Ethiopia ($47m), Haiti Flash Appeal ($20m), Sudan ($8m), Cameroon ($4m), Chad ($1m), Zimbabwe ($1m), and Pakistan ($86k).
Part of the reason for this is that there are overlaps between Agriculture and Food Security. For example, the Syria 2021 HRP groups together Food Security and Agriculture. In other contexts, such as Somalia, Agriculture may be a ‘technical working group’ of the Food Security sector or cluster. At the global level, Agriculture is seen as a subset of Food Security. The Food Security Cluster set up an Agriculture Working Group in 2020. This was set up due to demand from different humanitarian contexts.
Funding data shows a growing trend to Agriculture becoming less distinct. When looking at all Agriculture funding (not just to response plans), the number of contexts reporting Agriculture (not multiple sector projects that include Agriculture) has fallen from 50 in 2016, to 29 in 2021. Meanwhile, the number of funding flows that report Agriculture plus at least another sector have increased since 2016. In 2016, there was only two funding flows that were “Agriculture plus other sector(s)”. This rose to 52 funding flows by 2021.
For multiple sector projects including Agriculture, it isn’t just the number of funding flows that have increased, it’s also the value. The value of such flows has increased from around $5m in 2016, to $125m in 2021. These trends reflect the growing integration of Agriculture within the Food Security sector. In 2021, 77% of funding flows that included Agriculture as one component of multiple sectors, also included Food Security.
Bringing it all together, the (a) decline in agriculture as a sector in HRPs with distinct funding requirements, (b) decline of agriculture (only) funding in FTS, (c) increase in agriculture plus other sectors, notably food security, in terms of funding flows (both number and value), and (d) the inclusion of Agriculture as a subset of Food Security at the global level, means that Agriculture is becoming less visible in the data.
The trend is quite clear. And if the trend continues, we’d expect to remove Agriculture from the site in the future – generating insights will be increasingly difficult as it becomes subsumed within Food Security. However, we will keep this page here for 2022 as we wait to see how things progress.
The current state of things
By the end of 2022 (the calendar year at least), Agriculture had posted its best year in the last five, receiving $78m. This is more than double the $34m that the sector received in 2021, which was itself also better than the two previous years.
The rapid decline in Agriculture specific funding in recent years has resulted in the sector settling at this new equilibrium: somewhere between $20m and $40m. However, the new high of $78m could signal a shift in this decline. Bear in mind, however, that the sector received $221m in 2017, so we’re still nowhere near those heady heights.
One apparent feature is that, due to the decreasing amounts of funding attributed to Agriculture, funding is quite ‘stop-start’. It ticks along for a few months with no significant increases, and then it jumps up. All the Agriculture sector needs is one good month of funding, and it can have a significant impact on the graph above.
Features of the Agriculture sector in the past
Both the funding requirement and the funding going to Agriculture have declined over recent years. Whilst the funding requirement for Agriculture in 2016 was over $600m, this declined in 2021 to $151m. Similarly, funding received has declined from $201m in 2016, to a mere $34m in 2021.
The decline doesn’t look great, but this needs to be seen in the context of the above facts. Fewer contexts are including Agriculture as a distinct sector in HRPs, fewer contexts are reporting Agriculture in FTS, and many financial flows in FTS are grouping Agriculture with Food Security. Considering this, the decline in both requirement and funding is rather unsurprising. The gradual absorption of Agriculture into Food Security meant that in 2018, there was no funding requirement globally, as no contexts reported a distinct Agriculture funding requirement.
The gradual decline of funding attributed to Agriculture can also be seen in the ‘Current State of Things’ graph above. Funding in 2018 was, at every point in the year, ahead of funding in the next three years.
There is one big player when it comes to Agriculture funding, the Government of the United States, which represents 50% of all funding. This is followed by the Government of Japan (20%), and the Central Emergency Response Fund (14%).
Unsurprisingly, the UN agency with the word ‘Agriculture’ in its name, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (aka FAO) receives the most Agriculture funding – 49% to be price. This is followed by CARE (25%), CRS (8%), and the International Potato Centre (6%).
The usual health warning: FTS doesn’t capture everything. It is a platform that relies on voluntary reporting by organisations. But it is the most comprehensive source of data for humanitarian funding.
To find out methodology and sources for all the bits and bobs on this page, click here. The first three graphs on the page examine all Agriculture funding (not just funding to response plans).