Insights Hub
Our Approach to Agricultural Trade
We partner with private- and public-sector partners to make agricultural goods more accessible through trade.
Land O’Lakes Venture37 works alongside governments, regional economic communities, economic unions, and the private sector to make agricultural goods more accessible by reducing barriers to trade and increasing trade system efficiencies.

Our Approach 

Countries around the world benefit from increased access to agricultural markets. On the export side, farmers, processors, and traders all benefit from diverse, stable markets and strong prices for their goods. On the import side, consumers are able to access nutritious, diverse products. The flow of capital across boundaries can stabilize currencies and strengthen socio-political ties. Yet, agricultural trade comes with inherent risk of exposure to hazards that can negatively impact plant health, animal health, and food safety. 

Venture37 supports governments as they adopt and enforce standards and regulations that reduce risk, balance the benefits and hazards of trade, and efficiently manage the flow of goods across borders. We build the knowledge and capacity of market actors to implement risk management systems that enable them to sell products to importing countries. We reduce barriers to trade by aligning the policy and practice of trading partners. We partner with regional economic communities and national governments to harmonize their standards and procedures with international standards and best practices, such as those itemized in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Trade Facilitation Agreement and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) Agreement, and associated World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Codex Alimentarius Commission, and International Plant Protection Convention standards governing animal health, food safety, and plant health. Our approach protects consumers from agricultural hazards, increases trade volumes of safe product, and lowers the cost of trade.  

Our Areas of Focus

Policy Development

We help governments develop and adopt science-based regulations, standards, and simplified procedures that that mitigate risk and enhance trade of safe products. We establish robust public-private communications channels to ensure the private sector is involved in policy development, and we co-create public and private training and extension programs to ensure dissemination of policy and regulatory information for increased private sector compliance.

Analytical Capacity

We work with the regulatory agencies responsible for plant health, animal health, and food safety to identify, prioritize, and mitigate hazards. To do this, we establish monitoring or surveillance plans and train laboratory analysts in accordance with international standards and validated methods of analysis. 

Risk-Based Approaches

We help agencies and market actors dynamically categorize hazards by frequency and severity based on empirical evidence, and we help them optimize their procedures for monitoring and surveillance to allocate resources commensurate with risk. We facilitate a shift in emphasis from reactive response to preventive controls. 


We work with governments and private sector actors to establish traceability systems, which enable governments and market actors to rapidly identify the source of biological, chemical, or physical contaminants, and enable market actors to become verified suppliers of agricultural goods. 

Border Clearance Processes and Infrastructure

We work with customs and border agencies to streamline documentation and data sharing procedures and processes, rapidly identify hazards using a risk-based approach, appropriately handle and quickly move perishable and other agricultural products, and meet the various requirements of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Case Examples

USDA Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Project

In Bangladesh, we are working across nine agencies to harmonize processes and pre-clearance requirements; increase transparency of trade information and WTO notification; strengthen risk management systems; improve laboratories and testing procedures; and enhance cold storage infrastructure for perishable goods. These activities are reducing transactions costs, improving release time by 15 percent, increasing exports and imports by $500 million, generating employment, and attracting foreign direct investments. 

USDA Transforming the Inspection and Assessment of Food Business in Egypt (TAIB) Program

In Egypt, we have enhanced the capacity of the National Food Safety Authority (NFSA), provided NFSA workforce training, and improved policy and regulatory frameworks. We worked with NFSA leadership to design a modern food import control system based on preventative management, expedited clearance, and risk-based consignment sampling. By taking a science-based approach to analyzing ractopamine risk, beef liver rejections by Egypt’s customs authority have decreased 90 percent. In partnership with NFSA, TAIB has supported the creation of 11 standards and regulations, ranging from maximum pesticide residue levels to traceability requirements. 

USDA Trade of Agriculture Safely and Efficiently in East Africa (TRASE) Program

TRASE is helping East African Community (EAC) Regional Economic Community partner states implement transparent, efficient SPS measures and resolve SPS regulatory barriers. TRASE amplifies the private sector voice in SPS policy reforms, promotes domestication of regionally harmonized SPS measures, and improves implementation of transparent, risk-based inspection and verification. TRASE is training 80 analysts and benchmarking the performance of a network of over 30 EAC regulatory laboratories to facilitate mutual recognition of certificates of analysis. TRASE improves agricultural market functionality and will increase intra-EAC trade by $250 million.

By Kelly Thompson 09/21/2021