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Platform Knowledge Piece II - Understanding aid to agriculture, rural development and food security

The aid architecture in the Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) and food security sector is rapidly evolving. Alongside new international and regional initiatives, such as L’Aquila Food Security Initiative or the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, the mix of instruments used to deliver development assistance to the sector is changing, with an increasingly use of trust funds and forms of budgetary support. There is a need to examine how, in such changing context, volumes and patterns of funding in ARD and food security are shaping up and how measurement and accounting of such flows are being affected.

The study aims to contribute to strengthening the basis for mutual accountability in ARD and food security by improving the understanding and handling of information on aid flows to the sector. To this end, it will attempt to answer the following broad questions:

  • Does available aid data tell us enough about the policy priorities of donors and recipients in the ARD and food sector? Does it tell us enough about changing spending patterns within the sector?
  • Is there evidence of good practice in measuring, tracking and accounting for aid flows to ARD and food security, in ways that strengthen coherence between policy, planning and resource allocation, and, as a consequence, enhance development effectiveness?

Research will be built along four main components:

  1. Review of the purposes of measuring aid and the different methodologies used to measure and account for aid – both generally and in relation to ARD and food security. With respect to ARD and food security, lessons for best practice will be reviewed including detailed studies of individual donors.
  2. Development of a methodology for capturing all the relevant ARD flows on an international comparative basis, taking into account changes in the policy and institutional framework for ARD and food security and in aid delivery instruments.
  3. Analysis of trends and patterns of aid financing to ARD and food security over the past 15 years drawing on the above methodology.
  4. Analysis, drawing upon country studies, of how aid flows are linked to domestic budgetary processes and how greater congruence can be achieved to provide a basis for improved mutual accountability in the sector.


Geraldine Baudienville, Emily Darko, Matthew Geddes, John Howell, Sam Moon, Liesbet Steer, Heidi Tavakoli, Mike Wales, Rene Mendoza and Michelle Remme

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