Enabling Agricultural Trade (EAT)

Zambian workers with bananasUSAIDWorkers process fruit in Zambia. Though Zambia has a well-developed commerical farming sector, smallholder farmers often lack access to industries and services.

Agriculture growth is not only important to economic growth, but is a critical catalyst for poverty reduction and increased food security.


Recent analysis suggests it is more than twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth originating is in other sectors.


Distinct and special among industries, agriculture is the dominant source of employment for a large share, even a majority, of the population in developing nations. Agribusiness provides employment not only in farming, but also in handling, packaging, processing, transporting, and marketing of food and agricultural products.


Because of the sheer necessity of food, fuel and fiber, governments tend to treat the regulation of agriculture-related businesses differently from any

other sector. This responsibility too often leads to distortive policies and inordinate regulatory burdens that hurt individual (or corporate) ability to start up or grow.


Specific regulatory controls unique to the agriculture sector, such as SPS (sanitation) inspections, price ceilings, trade licensing and export controls, to name just a few, are often driven less by the interest of the agriculture sector and more by political or social concerns. Weak and underfunded institutions, and anti-agriculture policies, make this problem even more complicated.


Feed the Future invests in agriculture and nutrition as a lever for improving food security and an engine for broader economic growth, prosperity, and stability. A critical component of the presidential initiative is creating enabling environments to increase private sector investment that drives gains and sustainability in the long-term.


As the lead USAID enabling environment project, Enabling Agricultural Trade (EAT) supports legal and institutional reform through targeted agricultural policy analysis, implementation support for USAID, and practical guidance on how policies and governments can enable agribusiness. The EAT project supports the U.S. Government’s global efforts to create conditions for agricultural growth.


USAID established EAT based on substantial academic and field experience suggesting that a sound legal, regulatory, and institutional environment is a pre-requisite to economic growth in the agricultural sector. EAT offers a suite of targeted and customizable analytical tools and implementation support to identify, diagnose, and reform agribusiness enabling environment constraints that hinder start up and growth across the agricultural sector.