The International Trade Centre (ITC) is a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, focusing in particular on developing the export capabilities of small and medium-sized businesses in developing and transition economies. ITC is 100% "Aid for Trade", supporting trade that delivers inclusive and sustainable development results. ITC’s mandate covers all developing countries and transition economies with special emphasis on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDs) Fragile States and Sub-Saharan Africa. ITC Headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland. ITC projects and programmes contribute to the global efforts to achieve UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the Aid for Trade agenda. ITC works at three levels:
• Strengthening the integration of the business sector of developing countries and economies in transition into the global economy,
• Improving the performance of trade and investment support institutions for the benefit of small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), and enhancing the abilities of trade support institutions to better support them,
• Improving the international competitiveness of SMEs.
About the GRASP Project:
The Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) is a 66-month project that will contribute to the reduction of poverty through development of rural SMEs in selected districts within two provinces of Pakistan: Balochistan and Sindh. GRASP will focus on selected product lines within livestock and horticulture.
GRASP will take a holistic approach to building SME competitiveness in agribusiness value chains starting from a deep understanding of markets and working back through the value chain to enable SMEs and ultimately producers to create and capture additional value. To do this, GRASP will intervene in three main ways:
• Improving the eco-system for rural SME development through building institutional capacity and improving the business environment
• Building production and quality of primary products through support to SME agribusiness service providers and business intermediary organizations in rural areas
• Increasing added-value and marketed volumes through developing value chains and supporting SMEs to improve management, increase access to finance, apply sustainable technology to add value and improve quality and reduce waste throughout the system
At the impact level, GRASP will create employment and income opportunities in rural areas of Sindh and Balochistan. Outcome and outputs of GRASP include measurable improvement in the business environment for SMEs, improved agricultural productivity in selected areas, better access for farmers to market information and agricultural services, increase in revenue and financing for selected SMEs and increased value added and adoption of environmental sustainable technology. GRASP has a very strong focus on womens economic empowerment.
GRASP has a budget of €48.5m funded by the European Union and ITC. ITC will implement GRASP through three Pakistan based teams and a wide network of Pakistani and international partner organizations. This challenging project will involve managing many concurrent inter-linked activities from the market to the production level and innovative tools such as matching grants.
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