ITC launches partnerships with major agri-food companies in Iraq
New partnerships to connect Iraqi agri-food companies with local producers have now been launched in the country with support from the European Union.
The Strengthening the Agriculture and Agri-food Value Chain and Improving Trade Policy (SAAVI) project signed partnership agreements with major enterprises in the agri-business sector including Beirut Erbil for Potato Products (BEPP), Rawnaq Aldur and Waffir.
In Iraq farmers often sell their products in the local markets without making due profits. They are unaware of existing options to upgrade their products and access more remunerative markets.
These partnerships will enable the companies to seize these opportunities and develop local alliances to establish durable linkages and trust between producers and large agri-food buyers. Through this collaboration buyers will support farmers to improve their production practices to meet the latest market requirements.
As part of these partnerships, SAAVI organized tailored market awareness workshops for farmers and private sector partners in Mosul, Al Hamdaniya and Basra. These workshops serve as a platform for producers and buyers to connect and discuss current practices and entry-points for collaboration.
Negotiations are ongoing for the first batch of products to be delivered to interested buyers. Local agri-business plans will also be developed with farmers and buyers to support improved competitiveness and long-term quality improvement, that will create profitable business models.
Agriculture is an important sector for Iraq, as it contributes to economic diversification, inclusive job creation and private sector growth, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Products, such as tomatoes and other vegetables and poultry products exhibit significant potential for development, notably in the domestic market. There is a need to address competitiveness issues, and foster value addition, as well as improve market linkages for unlocking the potential in the sector.
The International Trade Centre (ITC), in partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), will provide farmers, with an emphasis on youth and women, with technical assistance in less resource-intensive agriculture, enhanced post-harvest practices, quality improvement and food safety standards in alignment with buyers' requirements. Buyers will in turn gain access to commercially viable volumes of quality products, being able to progressively substitute imports, and offer Iraqi consumers with the local healthy agri-food products they have been seeking.
The five-year SAAVI project seeks to enhance competitiveness of agriculture and agri-food value chains and improve trade policy in Iraq. SAAVI is funded by the European Union and implemented by ITC in close collaboration with the Government of Iraq, NRC, and other implementing partners.