Improving traditional products to reach new markets

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Improving traditional products to reach new markets

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©IFAD/Paolo Marchetti

Family farmers in rural Bosnia and Herzegovina and Egypt have increased their incomes, production and skills by taking part in a project funded by an IFAD grant and implemented by Oxfam Italia. In the central European country, the project focused on enabling small farmers and processors to upgrade traditional local products so they could be sold for a better price, appeal to visiting tourists and be exported to markets in Europe.

The project started work in 2013 in seven municipalities between the Drina River and the upper Neretva Valleys, where the tourist industry is being developed because of the natural beauty of the area. The grant-funded initiative worked together with two larger activities supported by IFAD loans in the country, the Rural Livelihoods Development Project and the Rural Enterprise Enhancement Project.

Six farmer organizations were enabled to update their business plans and improve their technical, marketing and communication skills. Equipment and machinery were provided to improve and modernize the services that the associations and cooperatives offer to their members, including collecting, preserving, packaging and marketing goods.

Over 1,000 producers of high-value soft fruits such as raspberries and strawberries benefited from activities, together with growers of traditional local apple varieties, organic vegetables and mushrooms. Small agricultural enterprises that produce jams and juices from plums, peppers and apples were also involved, and special attention was paid to including women, young people and other groups that are particularly vulnerable to poverty. Farmers were also offered training in environmentally friendly growing practices, which improved the quality and marketability of their produce.

The same grant funded work in two governorates in Upper Egypt – Beni Suef and Minya – which are among the poorest parts of the country. The start-up of the grant was delayed by the local political situation; work eventually got under way in 2014 and was completed in 2017.

Over 8,000 small farmers increased their incomes by learning good agricultural practices and technologies to increase the productivity of crops such as beans, onions, garlic, and medicinal and aromatic plants. Farmers also acquired marketing skills and took training in quality criteria and specifications for international markets. In addition, more than 700 women began to earn their own money by breeding poultry and goats, and making and selling dairy products.

In the community of Ahmed Allam in Beni Suef governorate, about 4,000 small farmers are now able to claim their rights in irrigation water, because the associations that represent them have learned how to bring pressure to bear on government officials to clear water channels of anything that obstructs farmers’ access.


This story is from the IFAD Annual Report 2017. Read the full report and highlights.