News - October 5, 2006

End of subsidy for Agromisa

The Wageningen development organisation Agromisa has failed to get subsidies from the ministry of development cooperation (DGIS). In addition to big organisations like Plan, many smaller organisations have lost their subsidy.

Agromisa has lost half of its budget for the coming four years. The ministry did not honour the subsidy proposal on the grounds that Agromisa’s organisational quality is not good enough. Organisations have to comply with a number of criteria, including a good partner policy with organisations in the South and clear social commitment within the Netherlands. According to the ministry, Agromisa did not fulfil the requirements for these points.

Director Sierk Plaat does not agree: ‘We are a voluntary organisation and have been professionalizing with support from DGIS for a number of years. That was going well, and now suddenly the ministry has pulled the plug out. That is destruction of capital.’

According to Plaat, it is a big disappointment for Agromisa’s partners in the South, and for the people who will have to be made redundant. It is also a disappointment for Wageningen UR, because Agromisa specialises in turning expertise from Wageningen UR into understandable language for small-scale farmers. ‘Many experts in Wageningen have made use of Agromisa, and continue to do so,’ said Plaat, who intends to appeal against the decision to stop the subsidy.

A spokesman for the ministry explained that in the new subsidy system results and quality of organisations weigh more heavily than previously.