To what extent is INMA still active?
The USAID Agribusiness program ("Inma") is fully active and operational. For example, USAID-Inma sponsored products featured at the new Carrefour supermarket in Erbil, Iraq. The opening of the new Carrefour supermarket in January has brought new opportunities for several USAID-Inma beneficiaries to sell their products. A Sulaymaniah strawberry grower, who was one of the first growers involved in a USAID-Inma pilot program to grow strawberries in Iraq, delivered his first shipment of the fruit to the new store in late January. The grower signed a one-year supply contract with Carrefour two months ago during the Erbil Agro-Food Fair. USAID-Inma provided the strawberry grower with technical assistance since 2009, and since then, the grower has expanded his operations and successfully marketed his strawberries to create a steady flow of income. In addition to the strawberries, Al-Basrah Date Company also began selling their packaged dates to Carrefour customers. The date company also signed a yearly supply contract with the French-based company during the Agro-Food Fair. The USAID-Inma Business Development team worked closely with representatives from Carrefour to secure the contracts, as well as other activities to bring the dates and strawberries to the supermarket. USAID-Inma staff developed logos, packing designs, logistics and management to both beneficiaries.
How much longer will INMA be active?
The USAID Agribusiness program ("Inma") is scheduled to end in May of 2012. USAID will continue activities in the Agriculture sector through new projects focused on increasing private sector participation in agricultural marketing and increasing the profitability of commercial food production. The new projects will also work on improving the Ministry of Agriculture’s extension service and providing technical assistance on agriculture policy reform.
Bob Nottelmann is a crop production specialist with California Pacific Plant Exports (Cal Pacific) and Ekland Marketing of California (Emco). Specializing in strawberry and blackberry, Cal Pacific is an exporter of certified nursery stock to fruit growers in over 50 countries. Cal Pacific sources its stock from certified nurseries in the United States, Turkey and Argentina. Emco is a marketing and licensing company providing plant breeders a range of services including overseas trialing, licensing of nurseries, marketing and promotion, royalty collection and variety protection and registration.