Many developing countries and economies in transition, particularly those with large rural communities, suffer from inadequate access to food and lack of employment. The problem is compounded by the dependence on outdated and inefficient technologies leading to poor productivity and slow economic growth.
Agriculture-based industrial products account for half of all exports from developing countries, yet only 30 per cent of those exports involve processed goods compared to a figure of 98 per cent in the developed world.
In this context, UNIDO aims to promote sustainable, inclusive business opportunities for the rural poor through agri-business and agro-value chain development. UNIDO's technical cooperation activities in this regard focus on adding value to agricultural commodities including non-food sectors at various points of the chain of economic transactions that links input providers, farmers, traders, processors, logistic providers, distributors and retailers.
Through its technical assistance, UNIDO links resources and markets in the agribusiness value chains and strengthens forward and backward industrial linkages in order to leg up the economic transformation of countries, improve employment and income opportunities, and reinforce sustainable livelihoods.
Agro-industrial activities benefit a number of groups, including poor and marginalized rural populations, urban agro-industries and communities facing human security challenges or requiring urgent supplies of agricultural equipment and the rehabilitation of food industries. Technical cooperation and capacity-building services are provided to agro-based and agro-related businesses and industries, inter alia, in the food, leather, textiles, wood and agricultural equipment sectors.
UNIDO promotes investment in agribusiness and value chain development; builds partnerships and linkages with strategic financing institutions; organizes various global forums and expert group meetings in related fields; and publishes specialized training manuals, guides and electronic media.
To carry out its mandate in this area, UNIDO mobilizes expert services such as cluster development, conformity with quality and standards, rural energy, environmental management and cleaner production.