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In the age of globalization, gaining access to export markets is particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In developing countries and countries with economies in transition this access is crucial for growth and increased productivity. With a majority of exportable goods coming from the agribusiness sector, UNIDO helps national and regional institutions make decisions about the economic development options for strengthening the agro-industrial sector.

UNIDO’s assistance builds capacities at the institutional and industry levels to enhance industrial productivity and marketing performance in agribusinesses, and helps traditional agro-industries to improve their productivity and increase their integration into global value chains. It also facilitates the participation of relevant institutions in the work of international normative bodies, the promotion of research on priority commodities, the preparation of training manuals and tool kits for agro-processing and related technologies, and the dissemination of agro-industrial information.

For many SMEs, exporting is often a complex business involving high risks. The assistance provided  includes the creation of export consortia in different sectors (with a special emphasis on agribusiness), institutional capacity building and policy advice on the regulatory and incentive framework. Export consortia development activities are undertaken within cluster programmes emphasizing the linkage aspect with smaller economic partners to contribute to the pro-poor growth agenda, or as specific projects targeting dynamic SMEs in growth-oriented sectors. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) concepts are being progressively integrated in the process of export consortia development in order to facilitate SMEs' insertion into regional and global value chains. UNIDO is prioritizing the diffusion of knowledge and the development of specialized skills through the organization of global and regional training, by strengthening its strategic alliances with national, regional and global organizations active in this field, and by further promoting South-South cooperation activities.

In summary, UNIDO assistance focuses on:

  • Supporting the creation of export consortia in different sectors;
  • Training national promoters of export consortia in the public or private sectors;
  • Promoting a favourable institutional and regulatory environment for the development of export consortia; and
  • Benchmarking international practice.