Looking back at 6 years of OECD work on agriculture

The most recent OECD Meeting of Agriculture Ministers took place in Paris on 7-8 April 2016. Ministers and representatives from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Viet Nam attended. They discussed the opportunities and challenges for the global agriculture and food sector and explored appropriate policy responses, placing a high priority on developing policies to underpin competitive, sustainable, productive and resilient farm and food businesses.

The Ministerial Declaration that was signed by 46 countries, outlined key objectives for agriculture and food systems and identified work priorities for the Committee for Agriculture. It set directions and guided the work of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate over the past 6 years resulting in a large number of publications, events, and high-level engagement in global fora.


Food Systems

A major part of the Committee for Agriculture’s work focused on policy packages targeting the development of productive, sustainable and resilient food systems.  The OECD Secretariat revised its analytical policy framework and improved measurement of sustainable productivity growth at the farm and national level through work of its expert networks. It developed a major report characterising food systems challenges and offering solution pathways, which were then used as criteria to assess agricultural support policies. Forward-looking policy analysis and planning has continued to be informed by the ten-year prospects for agricultural commodity, fish and biofuel markets at national, regional and global levels contained in the annual OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook.  These priority areas continued to be discussed during meetings of OECD agriculture and food expert networks.

Key publications and resources

The OECD Secretariat also made considerable contributions to the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit releasing a report on overcoming evidence gaps in food systems just before the event.  Collaboration continues as the OECD is contributing as a thought partner supporting action coalitions initiated as part of the Summit on topics such as schools meals.



Policies levers for innovation have continued to be the object of in-depth assessment in nine OECD and G20 countries. The opportunities of digital technologies in agriculture for producers and policy makers, and policies to encourage their development and use have also been studied and discussed in a number of workshops.   

Key publications and resources

Updates of this work were presented to the G20 Agriculture Working Group.


Addressing Climate Change

Work of the Committee has expanded and deepened on policies to foster the sustainable use of natural resources and enable climate change adaptation and mitigation. Research has looked into how to monitor and improve environmental performance of agriculture, policies and reform pathways to foster the sustainable management of water in agriculture, and the potential of different policy options to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

 Key publications and resources

Improving the policy performance:

Sustainable management of water in agriculture:

Climate change adaption and mitigation:

Research on water contributed to the OECD wide water work awarded the World Water Prize in 2018 while water management research contributed to the evaluation of the implementation of the 2016 OECD Council Recommendation on Water.


Building agricultural resilience

The longstanding work of the Committee for Agriculture on agricultural risk management served as a basis for a broader set of work on agricultural resilience to risks and associated case studies on natural hazard induced disasters, which was also the subject of the 2021 Global Forum on Agriculture. The OECD Secretariat also worked on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.



Policies to promote human, animal, and plant health throughout the food supply chain were enhanced via research on reducing the risk of antimicrobial resistance in animals. Human health aspects of food consumption, what are healthy diets, and how can governments influence what people are eating have been discussed at the Food Chain Analysis Network.


Trade and Markets 

The Committee continued to work on trade and domestic policies that foster well-functioning and more integrated international and domestic markets with a focus onGlobal Value Chains and digitalisation.On-going contributions and support of the OECD to the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) have been acknowledged by leaders in particular with recent the food supply disruptions due to COVID-19 and the situation in the Ukraine making accurate information about global food supplies critically important.


Transparency and Knowledge Sharing

The OECD continues to contribute to open data and knowledge sharing enhancing transparency and promoting learning.