This problem-focused chapter examines the structural and institutional characteristics of North African agriculture and related rural development policy issues. It provides the background which helps the reader to understand the nature of inter-country variations in agricultural population density on land, and food security problems. Also, it explores briefly some aspects of historical and institutional importance which help to understand the current social organization of agriculture. Issues on ownership and allocation of agricultural land between food and non-food crops, and on the supply of complementary inputs are discussed in the following three chapters.