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European Commission - ARD country profile

European Commission - ARD country profile

European Commission - ARD country profile

Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) is mainly supported through the development budget administered by the Directorate General - EuropeAid and Development Cooperation (DEVCO). Significant support also comes from the Directorate General for Research and Innovation (RTD). The Directorate General for Agriculture (AGRI) also supports activities relevant to ARD.

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Key ARD objectives

  • The EC's approach to ARD recognises research as a generator of international public goods, including knowledge, technologies and capacity;
  • Recognises that ARD is most effective if it is demand driven and is part of an innovation system, integrating access to inputs, services and markets and extension; and
  • Supports existing global and regional institutions and networks and builds capacity, while promoting reform and seeking a wider engagement with farmers, particularly smallholders, and civil society.


EC DEVCO’s support for global and regional ARD comes mainly through the Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP), which is part of the Development Cooperation Instrument. In its 2011-2013 phase, the FSTP will support ARD as part of the component dealing with agricultural research, extension and innovation. The main implementing partners are the Consultative Groups on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and African regional networks such as the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA).

Under the Seventh Framework Programme, the Directorate General for Research and Innovation provides support to cooperation between researchers in Europe and in developing countries with the objective of contributing to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. In particular, its Food Agriculture and Biotechnology Directorate and its International Cooperation Directorate participate in this effort, funding ARD projects chosen through very selective calls for proposals.

Some resources for ARD at regional and country level are also channelled through the European Development Fund (10th EDF)

The Commission supports the coordination of policies and programmes on ARD among European Member States (plus Norway and Switzerland) through EIARD. It also supports the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD), a broader stakeholder group.

Main ARD budget and beneficiaries for 2010

Recipients - Food Security Thematic Programme

CGIAR € 29,700,000
GFAR € 1,600,000
FARA € 6,700,000
ASARECA € 2,000,000
AFAAS € 1,500,000

ARD landscape

In DEVCO, ARD is managed by Unit C1 which deals with rural development, food security and nutrition and manages the Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP). Links are maintained with Unit C2, responsible for climate change, environment and natural resources, and D4, responsible for research for development coordination. There is close synergy between FSTP-sponsored research and the Seventh Framework Programme for Technology, Research and Development (FP 7) of the DG RTD. RTD projects have provided lessons to shape FSTP programmes and vice versa. For instance, the Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) saw its first phase funded by FP6 and its second by FSTP.

The coordination of policies and support for ARD within the European Commission also involves (AGRI), especially its Unit E3 in charge of relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), South Africa, FAO and the G8/G20.

Main ARD programmes

  1. The greatest proportion of ARD financial support is channelled through the CGIAR. In 2010 the EC was the largest supporter of CGIAR Challenge Programmes, and a large part focuses specifically on programmes and projects that are likely to have a direct impact on poverty or food security. GFAR (Global Forum on Agricultural Research), GFRAS (Global Forum on Rural Advisory Services) and the African Forum on Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) also receives support from the CGIAR budget line.
  2. ARD projects are also funded through competitive calls, being the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) which committed, for instance, € 24 million to ARD in 2010 including € 12 million through a dedicated 'Africa Call', or the Global Programme on ARD of the FSTP, targeting specifically to project submitted by non-CGIAR institutions, with a budget of € 38 million in 2010 and 2011.
  3. The EC provides core support to FARA and ASARECA through multi-donor trust funds to support the implementation of medium term development plans.
  4. PAEPARD is an innovative project, led by FARA, aimed at creating multi-stakeholder partnerships between Africa and Europe to strengthen capacity and improve access to research funding.


The EU's 2010 ‘Policy Framework to support Developing Countries addressing Food Security Challenges’ reaffirms ARD as an essential driver of progress on food security; places emphasis on smallholder farming systems and ecologically efficient farming systems; and sets a target to increase ARD support by 50% by 2015. The Commission will continue to work with its key partners such as CGIAR, GFAR and African research networks, aligning its CGIAR support to emerging research programmes.

This country profile has been commissioned by EIARD (the permanent ARD coordination platform between the European Commission, Member States of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland) as part of a series providing an overview of policies and support for agricultural research for development by EIARD member countries. EIARD is not responsible for any omissions and inaccuracies contained within this document and the information is only correct up to the date of publishing (August 2011).