Agricultural policy and rural development

© GIZ/Thomas Imo

Rural development and a strong agricultural sector reduce poverty and form the basis for sustainable economic development at all levels.


Living conditions in the rural regions of developing countries are often very poor. Poverty and hunger are widespread, basic services are not guaranteed, schools and hospitals are frequently inaccessible, and the rural population is often excluded from political co-determination.

On the other hand, the country is of great strategic importance for developing and emerging countries, as the agricultural sector provides employment and income and improves food security. Furthermore, if the agricultural sector is properly integrated with other economic sectors, it can become the driving force for overall economic and social development.

This potential must be better exploited in order to strengthen the economy as a whole and to offer people in rural areas a secure future. This is the only way to stem the rural exodus, which is driving more and more rural inhabitants into the cities in search of a better income.

So far, many countries still lack innovative concepts for agricultural policy, there is no significant investment and weak institutions are slowing progress. In the course of decentralisation, decision-making powers and financial resources have often been transferred to regional and local government. However, there is often a lack of ideas and competences for shaping policy for rural areas. There is a need for better coordination and cooperation between administrative levels and between public, civil society and private stakeholders.

On behalf of the German Federal Government, GIZ is working with its partners to overcome these obstacles to development. The goal is an active agricultural policy that exploits the potential of local and global agricultural development for food security and poverty reduction. This happens across sectors in cooperation with other relevant policy areas. Development-oriented structural change must open up new perspectives in rural areas. 

The GIZ's approach: Modern agricultural policy must be coordinated with economic promotion, environmental, climate and resource policy, social policy and sustainable development goals (SDGs). Under this premise, the GIZ supports rural development at all levels: 

  • It advises governments and administrations on the development, implementation and impact assessment of agricultural policy objectives.
  • It supports a good investment climate.
  • It supports the fair exchange between public and private interests.
  • It trains and advises agricultural institutions on technical and organizational issues.
  • It supports its partners in forest, land, water, soil and pasture management and in the management of protected areas.
  • It promotes civil society groups and advises them, for example, on social participation and safe land rights.
  • It supports the shaping of urban-rural relationships.
  • In addition to agriculture, it also promotes the development of the upstream and downstream sectors of the agricultural and food economy.
  • Together with its partners, it develops concepts for improving rural infrastructure and facilitates access to education, health and financial services. It uses digital opportunities to offer these services in rural areas.

Additional information