Agricultural policy and rural areas

We advise our partners on agricultural and rural development policy, with a view to giving the rural poor access to land, water, loans and training. Based on its many years of experience and extensive know-how, On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) GIZ offers regionally adapted strategies to sustainably secure the right to food and to make rural development a force capable of fuelling economic recovery and prosperity. Our inputs in the field of agricultural policy and rural services essentially focus on the following areas:

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Food Security

Achieving food security for all is a major global challenge. Almost two billion people lack secure access to an appropriate, balanced diet. They lack calories, vitamins and micronutrients. Some 840 million go hungry. The consequences of undernourishment are very severe, for infants in particular: extended phases of undernourishment and malnutrition cause irreversible growth and developmental disorders.

However, there is good news, too. In numerous regions of the world, rapid economic development has created employment and income, lifting many millions of people out of absolute poverty. The food price crisis of 2008 has put rural and agricultural development back at the centre of the policy agendas of governments and civil society. Investment in agriculture continues to be the most important and effective tool in the fight against poverty. There is a new and growing willingness among governments, the industry and civil society to work together and form innovative alliances. Through this cooperation, food security and rural development are gaining fresh momentum.

In this setting, GIZ is commissioned by the German Federal Government to advise partner countries on ways to boost agricultural production, foster rural development and enhance food security. One focus is placed on intensifying smallholder production sustainably, providing access to markets and reinforcing rural economies. GIZ also assists partner countries in adapting to climate change, developing social security networks and integrating short-term interventions with long-term development schemes. All of this work is designed to enable partner countries to expand the agricultural sector in a sustainable and socially equitable manner and to realise the human right to food for all.

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Land Governance

For the world’s rural population, land is the basis of their livelihoods. It is a production factor in agriculture and an economic asset, but it is also the source of many conflicts. It is a known fact that secure rights of ownership, use and transfer, and equitable access to land are indispensable conditions for sustainable development. In many partner countries, however, these conditions are not in place.

Losing the ground beneath our feet

As the population grows, so too does the pressure on land. In many places, however, uncertainty regarding property rights and tenure are an obstacle to investment in rural areas. This gives rise to conflicts and promotes land degradation which makes farming land increasingly scarce and thus exacerbates poverty. Approaches aimed at resolving these problems have many different facets. On the one hand, there must be the political will to develop programmes for durable land management. On the other, there is often a great deal of catching up to do as regards building the specialist capacities and skills required for a predictable land policy.

Transparent structural policy: land management must have universal support

Broad-based advisory services to policy decision-makers ensure that land policy is debated in a transparent public process and enshrined in legislation. This helps to defuse land-related conflicts. GIZ works on behalf of the German Federal Government.

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Policy advice

Rural poverty has many different faces and impacts negatively on social relations. Social conflicts and environmental risks affect people’s development opportunities and can have long-term ramifications. The impacts of globalisation and climate change with their regional variations are creating new challenges for rural development. To achieve prosperity and growth and to secure people’s future livelihoods and their food security status, all actors need to network, harness their resources on a participatory basis and be able to engage in the development process. Against this backdrop, territorial development offers a good approach for the systemic, integrated development of rural areas.

The absence of state structures in regions that are difficult to access makes it difficult to implement this kind of approach. At the same time, it does create an ideal environment for the cultivation and trafficking of narcotics. Developing and transition countries are particularly prone to this scenario. Traditionally, drug crops are grown mainly in developing countries in Latin America, Asia and North Africa. At the most, farmers derive only a short-term boost in income and hence living conditions from the cultivation of drug crops. On the downside, however, this practice stands in the way of peaceful co-existence and blocks access to state health and education services and legal markets. International anti-drugs policy makes it incumbent on the producer nations to reduce the volume of drug crops and to stop illegal global trading in narcotics. GIZ advises its partners on behalf of the German Federal Government.

Examples of our work

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Agricultural policy and food security

The food price crisis has pushed rural development back up the development agenda. Rural development is a tool for combating hunger and poverty on a sustainable basis. ...

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Land Governance

For economic and social development to be sustainable, secure rights of property ownership, usage and disposal along with fair access to land are essential. GIZ engages in land policy and legal counselling ...

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Development in Rural Areas

Roughly three quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas, making development measures in such areas especially important.

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Drug policy in development cooperation: the alternative development approach

The cultivation of coca and opium poppy (and the production of cocaine, opium and heroin) poses considerable problems for development and security. GIZ aims to reduce the illicit cultivation of drug crops by tackling its causes...

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Contact

Helmut Albert
rural.development@giz.de


Advisory and service portfolio

Here you will find an overview of the technical and methodological services we offer.