Agricultural trade and standards

© GIZ/Martin Godau

Increasing consumer demands must not become a trade barrier for agricultural producers in developing countries.


More and more consumers worldwide are paying attention to social and ecological standards and to the health safety of products. For agricultural producers in developing countries, this actually positive trend can become a hurdle. They too must meet the required standards in order to participate in international trade. Not only individual producers are affected, but also all rural regions, which live mainly from the marketing of their agricultural products.

The challenges are particularly great for regions that are dependent on a few agricultural products, such as coffee, cocoa or cotton. The pressure on farms is also increasing because consumers want low prices in addition to sustainable farming methods and high quality. However, sustainability often suffers from low-cost production. This vicious circle can only be broken if everyone involved in the production chain pulls together: They must all commit themselves to economic, social and ecological sustainability and bear responsibility for the application of codes of conduct and standards.

GIZ advises its partners on behalf of the German Federal government on the subject of sustainability standards and works to ensure that these are applied effectively and in accordance with national and international standards. The focus is on ecological and social standards in agriculture as well as fair trade guidelines. Initiatives to raise standards bring together producers, the private sector and civil society in countries of production and consumption. The economic, social and ecological improvements in production and processing benefit not only the producing and processing companies in the producing countries, but also the consumers.

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