Sustainable agriculture

© GIZ/Harald Franzen

Sustainable agriculture and rising yields - that is not a contradiction in terms. GIZ advises partners who want to decouple consumption from productivity.


Natural resources such as soil, water, vegetation and biological diversity are the livelihoods of many people in poor countries. In rural areas, natural resources are often the only way to ensure food security.

However, this livelihood is threatened. Ecosystems and with them biological diversity are dwindling faster than ever before. Agriculture plays a significant role in this. Land areas are overused, soil fertility is declining and agricultural chemicals are polluting the environment. Need forces many people to overexploit nature. A vicious circle of poverty and environmental degradation is emerging that is not only fatal for local and national development, but also has dramatic global consequences.

Environmental protection and resource conservation coupled with sustainable agriculture are therefore an important part of poverty reduction and food security. On behalf of the Federal Government, GIZ supports its partners in the sustainable use of soil, water and biodiversity resources - while at the same time ensuring high productivity. The aim is to decouple resource consumption from productivity. GIZ thus contributes to creating better living conditions in rural areas through ecologically sustainable increases in productivity.

However, agriculture is only sustainable and prepared for climate change if it simultaneously safeguards diversity in the field. Without conservation of (agro) biodiversity there can be no productive and sustainable agriculture and no future for rural habitats.

GIZ is committed to sustainable agriculture in these areas:

  • It works closely with agricultural enterprises and their organisations. It supports farms in their conversion to sustainable methods and makes use of the professional and technical expertise of local people. It also promotes development partnerships with industry and involves state and civil society partners in the cooperation.
  • It advises partner governments that want to promote sustainability in agriculture, for example by promoting sustainable production systems. GIZ has tried-and-tested promotional concepts that can be adapted to the needs of the partner country.
  • More public and private services are to be made available to farmers to help them make the transition to sustainability. GIZ develops training materials and familiarises its partners with the "Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation" (RISE) method. This makes it possible to measure how sustainably agricultural enterprises operate.