Can trade be a catalyst for change? With the region’s agriculture and forestry exports seen as having sustainable growth potential – and the ability to transform rural livelihoods, the answer may be yes. Since 2008, the EU-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade (FACT) pilot project has been assisting 14 PACP countries to strengthen the export capacity of these primary industries.
The €4 million EDF9 pilot project, which is implemented by SPC’s Land Resources Division, works directly with rural smallholders (farmers and tree growers) and export enterprises to increase and add value to exports from the region. The project has helped transform enterprises into commercially-viable, market-driven businesses that can cope with the shocks of global financial crises and extreme climatic events.
This has been achieved through an emphasis on market studies, value-chain analyses and consistent supply, leading to more focused business plans while targeted improvements have enabled the enterprises to meet international trade standards. This in turn has helped farmers. For example in PNG, the assistance provided to three coffee enterprises with gaining certifications for high-value niche markets has resulted in better returns for nearly 6000 rural coffee growers.
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