Agriculture and food: the Netherlands and Bangladesh

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands addresses through its Food Security Program all four aspects of food security - availability of food, access to food, affordability of food products and utilization of nutritious food. The overall objective of the Food Security strategy is to increase food security for the most food insecure households by enabling them to get access to sufficient and balanced food throughout the year on the basis of strengthened livelihoods; this is in line with the National Food Policy of Bangladesh and its Plan of Action.

The agriculture sector comprises all economic activity relating to food, from production to marketing and distribution.

Exporting nation

The Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of agricultural products in the world, after the United States. It is known for its flowers, cheese, tomatoes, vegetables and beer.

The Dutch horticulture sector has an extensive logistics network. Vegetables harvested in the Netherlands can be sold in New York the very same day.


The Dutch food sector has developed smart storage and packaging technologies that keep food fresh longer.

The Netherlands wants to reduce the use of antibiotics in food production in order to combat antimicrobial resistance in humans and animals.

The Netherlands shares its expertise in food production with developing countries. It is committed to a free market with safe, sustainably produced food.


Research and innovation are vital to Dutch agriculture and horticulture. Dutch agri-food companies and knowledge institutions do innovative work in many areas, including sustainability and nutrition.

Agri-food: the Netherlands and your country or region

For more information on this topic, contact the embassy or consulate.

Food security in Bangladesh
Agriculture in Bangladesh

Despite rapid growth of its population, from an estimated 90 million people in 1980 to more than 160 million people today, Bangladesh has achieved impressive progress in food production and has become virtually self-sufficient in rice production. At the same time the country has experienced rapid economic growth lifting many people out of extreme poverty. Notwithstanding these developments, food insecurity and undernourishment have remained at unacceptably high levels for a large part of the population.

The low purchasing power of households with low and unstable sources of income is one of the main reasons why households lack access to food. Rural households with irregular incomes are the most food insecure households in Bangladesh. Members of these households have poor and unbalanced diets. Particularly women and children are most affected by food insecurity.

To improve this situation, the country needs to tackle the issues around availability of food, access to food and the use of food and deal with it in such a way as to ensure their stability, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that diets of all its citizens are adequate. Food security is a human right; it increases the physical and intellectual capabilities of people and gives them better health during their lives. This will also benefit the economy.

The food security program in Bangladesh

Four focus areas were identified in the strategy: 1) improved water resource management and infrastructure for agricultural production, 2) fisheries and aquaculture development, 3) livestock development and 4) improvement of food quality, the latter focusing on the use of (nutritious) food. Soon it also came to include food safety. Key to agricultural development in general and in the selected subsectors in particular is that small producers develop profitable linkages with input and output markets. The development of these sectors requires the active involvement of the private sector serving local, national and international markets. Market access facilitation and value chain development are therefore critical features of EKN’s approach to food security.

The sectors fisheries/aquaculture and livestock especially still has a large potential to develop in Bangladesh. The development of these sectors can provide a regular income to rural households, especially to women, and can be well integrated into present farming practices. Moreover, fish, eggs, meat and milk help diversify household diets in that they provide much needed proteins. Transporting, marketing and processing in these sectors can generate non-farm employment for resource-poor households, including women. Therefore some Food Security projects especially focus on these sectors

The Netherlands has recognized expertise not only in water management but also in livestock and fisheries development, including logistics, marketing and food safety. Dutch private companies may assist in strengthening value chains in these sectors and expand marketing opportunities, while Dutch research institutions and development organizations may provide know-how in these areas and contribute their skills in working with comprehensive approaches through multi-stakeholder processes. As part of the transitional process (from aid to trade) EKN Dhaka is partnering more and more with Dutch companies, knowledge institutes, Dutch NGOs and actively links the Dutch and Bangladeshi Private Sector actors with each other to generate mutual beneficial outcomes.

Overview food security projects

EKN supports a portfolio of ten projects concerned with Food Security: four projects from the Food Security Budget which have been formulated with food security as their primary objective, one project from EKN’s Gender Budget that has been formulated with the dual primary objective of food security and the empowerment of women and five projects from the Water Budget which do not have food security as their primary objective but tall contribute significantly to food security. Please see below the overview of the project portfolio. For more information please see projects at a glance or download the fact sheets of every project.

Projects funded from the Food Security Budget

1. Improving Food Safety in Bangladesh

2. SaFaL (Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security and Linkages)

3. PROOFS (Profitable Opportunities for Food Security)

4. Food Security Support Fund

5. Krishi Utsho

Project funded from the Gender Budget

6. Rice Fortification

7. MMWW (Making Market Work for Women)

Projects funded from the Water Budget

8. CDSP IV (Char Development and Settlement Project Phase-IV)

9. Blue Gold Program

10. South West Water Resources Planning and Management Project

11. Enhancing Food Security Through Improved Crop Water Management Practices in the Southern Coastal Areas of Bangladesh

12. Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters and Effects of Climate Change

Contact Embassy food security department Bangladesh

If you require further information, or would like to meet our colleagues from the food security program, please contact us by email.