• back


    ITC in Action


    International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2009 

    With the help of private sector exporters, developing countries can trade their way out of poverty. Driven by this conviction, ITC projects are making a difference where it counts - on the ground.

    Mali mango exports boom

    Mali, a landlocked African state, has more than quadrupled its exports of mangoes in just four years and is on track to quintuple the volume by the end of 2009. Guided by an ITC-led project, the country has also seen its number of export partners increase from just one country, France, in 2005, to five European countries, several Arab states and various regional neighbours in 2008. Producers learned to identify market requirements and obtain accurate market information, as well as to diversify markets, improve packaging and meet international quality and safety standards. ITC is helping with trade negotiations and acting as an honest broker to bring Malian exporters into contact with potential importers at international trade fairs such as Berlin's Fruit Logistica.

    Incomes soar for Lao silk weavers

    Building on the successful experience in neighbouring Cambodia, for the past two years ITC has been helping poor silk weavers in rural areas of Lao People's Democratic Republic to meet the quality standards demanded by foreign buyers. It has helped the weavers to improve the quality of their products, including through new innovative designs, and build skills in promotion and marketing. The project, which is focused on four pilot communities, has included a study tour for weavers to Cambodia to increase their knowledge of processing and marketing techniques. The first 50 weaver families report significant increases in their incomes.

    Opportunities crafted for Cambodian women

    In one of Cambodia's poorest provinces, women craft producers' groups have been strengthening production capacity and building lasting links to the market. The Partnership for Gender Equity programme brings together ITC, the Cambodian Government's Ministry of Women's Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme, and aims to help women producers' groups in particular to reach the quality standards needed to increase domestic and export sales of their goods. It also aims to help build the country's own capacity to provide business support services for women entrepreneurs.

    Helping business make the most of the EC-CARIFORUM Partnership Agreement

    ITC's package of programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean help businesses take advantage of export opportunities, covering areas such as help with packaging and meeting quality standards in order to enter international markets, branding, identifying niche opportunities, trade promotion, customs and trade finance. ITC developed a guide on the EC-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement to help businesses in the Caribbean identify new investment and export opportunities for the services sectors.

    Tajik growers certified for better business

    For the first time in Tajikistan, two fruit and vegetable processing companies have obtained an internationally recognized certification for food safety management. Until now, most food products in Central Asia have not met international food safety and quality standards and have therefore been unable to compete in world markets. The two Tajik companies were pilot enterprises working with ITC; certification is expected to help them break into international markets and should also boost their image and reputation with partners and clients.

    Improving Vietnamese handicraft standards

    ITC has teamed up with four other United Nations agencies in Viet Nam to boost development of the rural handicraft sector, by improving standards and linking producers to potential markets. Targeting 4,450 poor rural households, the programme aims to increase the incomes of people engaged in producing handicrafts and small furniture, and growing or collecting the relevant raw materials.

    Fresh produce thrives in Kyrgyzstan

    Through an ITC trade promotion project, fruit and vegetable producers in Kyrgyzstan have seen exports soar in recent years. By encouraging producers to examine their business in detail, the project helped them to identify and discard loss-making products, and instead focus on profitable products and markets. The value of fruit and vegetables exported rose 59 per cent from 2006 to 2007, while the overall revenues of the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processors was up a remarkable 67 per cent.

    Romania receives vital market intelligence

    Working together, ITC and the Government of Romania have set up an interactive trade information web portal, which aims to strengthen links between the local business community and markets in Europe and elsewhere. Development of the new portal was part of a larger Swiss-funded ITC project designed to boost Romania's export potential. Despite the country's good economic growth after joining the European Community in 2007, the recent global downturn is a reminder of how essential it is to have access to comprehensive, timely and reliable trade intelligence.

    Ugandan coffee goes organic

    ITC is helping some 3,000 farmers, mostly women, in south-west Uganda to boost their incomes by securing organic certification that will enable them to supply their products to supermarkets in the United Kingdom. At the same time, the ITC Trade and Environment programme is focusing on reducing soil erosion and improving water quality in the coffee-growing areas. Organic production methods also help increase carbon sequestration, thus contributing to the fight against climate change.