In 2003-4 the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in consortium with public and private sector partners implemented a project on " improving rural livelihoods in Southern Africa" through a grant received from USAID/RCSA. In Southern Africa, the project is being implemented in collaboration with the Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). The aim of the project is to accelerate shift from subsistence towards a more commercially oriented small-scale agricultural sector, through an integrated and holistic science based approach that links farmers and processors to growth oriented and value-added markets. FANRPAN conducted rural livelihood studies in four countries namely Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. The process culminated in a Regional High level Stakeholder Policy Dialogue held in Maputo 19-20 August 2004 to assess and prioritise agricultural policy constraints to regional trade and rural economy diversification. This brief highlights these priority policy constraints.