In the context of SEARCA’s development mandate, agricultural competitiveness is defined as the sustained ability of a country’s agriculture sector to participate and compete in a given domestic or foreign market. At the sector level, agricultural competitiveness is affected by factors that are endogenous and exogenous to the industry—production technology, infrastructure development, domestic and international markets and marketing environment, and R&D and policy environment, among others. The competitiveness of a nation's specific sector in international markets is clearly related to the relative quality of its products and the quantity of resources available to that sector in the country.
SEARCA strives to address agricultural competitiveness mindful of food security and rural poverty alleviation as overriding goals above revenue generation by big businesses. Along this line, the concept of agricultural competitiveness is intrinsically linked to natural resource endowment and management, and hence to rural people, their livelihoods, and rural growth.