Complying with standards is an important prerequisite for the food trade.
Photo: © GIZ / Aude Rossignol

GIZ – promoting safe and inclusive agricultural trade

Trading in food, agricultural commodities and agricultural inputs has been strongly globalised. Agricultural trade contributes to food security in many countries of the Global South and secures the income of many farmers. It is all the more important that these countries can participate in global trade.

International standards and legal regulations regarding the import of plants, animals and food play an important role in preventing the introduction and spread of pests and diseases and guaranteeing healthy food. Often, however, the requirements this entails (sanitary and phytosanitary measures or SPS measures) for the countries of the Global South represent a considerable challenge and inhibit trade.

Commissioned by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the global project Fund for the Promotion of Innovation in Agriculture (i4Ag) of Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supports the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the sense of basket funding. The aim of the STDF is to support partner countries in developing the capacities needed to comply with the international standards for food safety and animal and plant health and thus improve their ability to participate in regional and international trade. This in turn is expected to contribute to sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and food security.

The STDF is a global partnership comprising the most important actors in the SPS sector. In half-yearly sessions of the working group, it brings together donors, implementing organisations, representatives from the partner countries and other experts to discuss pressing problems in the sector, generate solution approaches and spread good practices. Here, too, future funding projects are selected from applications which have been submitted.

Examples of projects include the introduction of electronic SPS certificates for plant products (e-phyto), training civil servants and producers in handling certain diseases and pests or promoting certain value chains, developing and implementing modern SPS regulations and inspection practices and promoting regional trade. Furthermore, currently, gender mainstreaming is being specially focused on, and interaction between environment, climate and plant and animal health and food safety is being examined.

Not only does strengthening SPS measures contribute to safe and resilient agricultural trade, but it also benefits more sustainable and resilient agriculture and trade structures as well as potential spill-overs to national and local markets.

Authors: Vivian Schlegel and Kathrin Cordes, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Fonds zur Förderung von Innovationen in der Agrar- und Ernährungswirtschaft, Bonn/Eschborn, Germany

More information:

Link to Fund for the Promotion of Innovation in Agriculture (i4Ag)

Link to BMZ special initiative on “Transformation of Agricultural and Food Systems”

Download Rural 21 edition 2023/02 Focus: "Agrifood prices, food security and the role of trade"

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