Story: Uplifting rural MSMEs in Pakistan (en)
Micro, Small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) make up the bulk of businesses in Pakistan. To achieve broad, sustainable economic growth, these firms must grow and create jobs for the increasing workforce. Livestock and horticulture - which account for 70% of value-added agriculture - have strong potential for adapting to climate and enabling women's participation.
Representatives of the government, research and academia, development partners and public and private institutions and organizations got together virtually to officially launch Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) project.
The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Trade Centre with participation from implementing partners.
How will MSMEs benefit from GRASP?
GRASP will work to connect farmers to the market and will address issues along the entire value chain. It focuses on the demand side: what markets, buyers and consumers want, and then drills down to the supply side by equipping producers and the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises with the skills, technology and services needed to meet that demand. The programme will help enterprises in the horticulture and livestock sectors become more competitive by supporting improvements at all levels of the value chain.
This will enable the network of small producers, farmers and enterprises to create and deliver in-demand goods that meet standards of quality and safety. Producers and businesses will earn higher incomes, expand their footprint and create jobs, which will boost sustainable economic development in the country as a result.
Working with women in Pakistan
There will be no success without women's voices reflected. This is why GRASP is bringing them into the conversation, supporting jobs and strengthening women's organizations. Women will be engaged in all stages of the value chain and in every discourse. This is a priority at the International Trade Centre.
The project's response to COVID-19 focuses on enabling the most vulnerable stakeholders to continue to earn a sustainable livelihood. Activities include fostering MSMEs applications to available financing schemes, providing critical inputs and support to ensure proper functioning of the value chains, supporting investment in safety and hygiene, and providing emergency support through a matching grant facility.
Support will also be provided for developing policy measures and recommendations for rural and agriculture development to address the additional layer of constraints brought forth by the pandemic.
Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre joined in from the ITC headquarters in Geneva. Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara and Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Pakistan Prime Minister for Commerce, Textile Industry and Investment, Ministry of Commerce also attended.
The project is working in 11 districts of Sindh and 10 districts of Balochistan provinces in the country.