Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Why Policy Matters for Country-Led Agricultural Transformation

Rural transformation has the potential to lift millions if not billions of people out of poverty and into food and water secure conditions of well-being. The promise of development, however, has long been constrained by an inability of governments and institutions to effectively harness resources and invest in viable modes of inclusive growth. Too often this inability stems from a lack of vision and capacity in public policy.  

For this month’s Agrilinks theme on “why policy matters”, we aim to show why policy is vital for guiding the sustainable development and use of resources and catalyzing large-scale transformation. Many forget that the Green Revolution in Asia was largely enabled by policies that promoted technology adoption and improved resource governance, access to credit and insurance, and food grain markets.

Indeed, strong public policy ensures that governments are investing in agriculture, that there is an enabling environment to attract the private sector, that there is coordination across sectors and stakeholders, and that historically marginalized populations — especially women, youth, ethnic minorities, and smallholder farmers — have access to the necessary resources to take part in agricultural transformation processes. Moreover, policy is increasingly critical for building agricultural landscapes and agriculture-based livelihoods that can prove resilient and adaptive in the face of social ecological shocks and stresses.

This month Agrilinks will feature a series of blog posts that demonstrate why policy matters for achieving systems-level change, building country capacity, and fostering self reliance. We’ll learn about the importance of strengthening the institutions responsible for policymaking and developing processes of accountability among stakeholders. We’ll showcase a new approach for measuring the full economic impact of agrifood system development. We’ll hear from researchers and mission staff on best practices for the Joint Sector Review. And we’ll learn about the importance of decentralized development for youth, women, the poor, and other historically marginalized groups. 

This is just a taste of what’s in store for this month. We hope this series can be a starting point for a wider conversation on the role policy can play in transforming the systems where we work. In that vein, we encourage you to submit posts related to this topic, and to engage this content directly in the Agrilinks comments sections or through your social media platforms. Stay tuned for some exciting blog posts that help us understand why policy matters!


The challenge is translating policy into action, especially creating an enabling environment for the private sector to consider investing without public officials demanding money for each approval signature.