First SAAVI local agribusiness development and investment plan endorsed
Iraq's agriculture sector is set for a transformational boost, as Al Zubair farmer alliance's first local agribusiness development and investment plan is now endorsed by local authorities, private sector, and international partners.
The plan was prepared by stakeholders themselves, giving them an opportunity to prioritize their own needs under the framework of the International Trade Centre's EU-funded "Strengthening the agriculture and agri-food value chain and improving trade policy in Iraq" (SAAVI) project.
It was officially signed by the alliance's representative, a buyer (retail stores), the Director of Agriculture, and ITC's SAAVI implementing partner (NRC) earlier in Al Zubair.
The five-year local agribusiness development and investment plan was developed as part of a participatory process which culminated with a workshop to define the priorities of the alliance's members: improving their profitability and overall competitiveness in the market.
It outlines key activities and provides a detailed costed plan for investment to improve production and productivity, enhance quality, improve efficient marketing, and create a conducive business environment.
The plan also includes clear strategies for inclusion of various groups, adaptation and contribution to climate change mitigation, and overall impact on employment.
It will also be instrumental in preparing micro-project proposals that will be competitively selected to receive block grants through SAAVI project. It will be used to provide support to the alliance from various agencies including FAO, IOM, WFP, ACF, and Eco-consult in the same location. The representatives readily expressed support for the plan, and willingness to work in a coordinated manner towards its implementation.
SAAVI has established 10 similar agribusiness alliances across Iraq, each linked with reputable buyers, and it is anticipated that this market-based model will improve the competitiveness of over 1500 farms and SMEs. The SAAVI Agribusiness alliance model is an innovative business model that offers farmers support to improve their production capacities, upgrade their business models, develop their own local business plans, and establish long-term mutually beneficial partnerships with buyers.
SAAVI has also formalized partnerships with major private sector actors to be lead buyers in the agribusiness alliances, including Zuhoor Alwatan, Rawnaq Aldur, Waffir, Beirut Erbil Potato Company, and Finest Foods Germany. Additional potential partners include Carrefour, MONRO Company, VANO Group, and Pepsico.
Dr. Hussain, Director of Agriculture in Basra speaking on the occasion said:
"We warmly welcome this agribusiness development and investment plan, which is closely aligned with our own goals of revitalizing and transforming Iraq's agriculture sector for the benefit of our farmers and communities. Our doors are always open to support such initiatives that drive sustainable economic growth and job creation, and we look forward to working hand in hand with our partners to turn this vision into a reality."
Barbara Egger, Head of Cooperation for the EU Delegation said:
"The European Union is proud to support the SAAVI project in Iraq, which is unlocking the potential of the country's agri food sector and creating opportunities for inclusive economic growth and job creation. Through strategic partnerships and innovative business models, SAAVI is driving sustainable development and strengthening the resilience of Iraqi farmers and agribusinesses. We are confident that this project will have a lasting impact and pave the way for a brighter future for Iraq."
Eric Buchot, who leads the International Trade Centre's operations in Iraq said:
"We are thrilled to see the SAAVI alliances recognized as powerful instruments of sustainable development, backed by strategic partnerships with local and international organizations that amplify our impact and transform Iraq's agriculture sector for the better."
SAAVI project contributes to inclusive economic growth and job creation, particularly for youth in Iraq, by improving the country's agriculture competitiveness and supporting trade development.
The project is funded by the European Union (EU) and forms part of the overall EU Special Measure 2019 for Iraq which aims at supporting stabilization and governance through building the capacities of key Iraqi institutions to deliver public services, as well as sustainable job creation through the development of human capital and the private sector.
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