Agribusiness & Value Chain development
Pragma is a leader in developing best practices and strategies to foster agricultural growth and sustainability. The company has considerable experience improving farm-level incomes and facilitating trade and investment for agriculture-based businesses worldwide, It offers the following agriculture/agribusiness environment and management support:
- Agriculture value chain identification and analysis using best practice qualitative and quantitative approaches
- Agribusiness enterprise development focused at the value chain level that promotes small agribusiness development, rural financial services, business and trade association development, and business information services
- Agribusiness regulatory/policy analysis and development, along with agriculture- related reform in areas such as agricultural policy, structural adjustment, and financial sector reform
- Strategic agricultural production and agribusiness marketing support across the value chain through agribusiness market identification and entry strategies, export promotion and market development, agricultural extension and training, and packaging and transportation of fresh and fragile products to minimize post-harvest losses
- Food safety and food quality management consistent with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)
- Technical training to agriculture/agribusiness producers and associations
- Agribusiness financial advisory services, including financial analysis, investment services and joint venture formation, access assistance to capital markets, valuation services, privatization, feasibility analysis, and preparation of “investable” business and financial plans for new and restructured agribusiness ventures
This assistance increases quality, production, and consumer acceptance of domestic products. The focus on value chain ensures the assistance is impactful and benefits businesses upstream and downstream in the chain.
Furthermore, the identification of export markets for local products adds new opportunities and growth potential. Within this context, Pragma has focused on analyzing the impact of public policies and multilateral agreements on farm- level agricultural development and sustainability, agribusiness/value chain development, and environmental management. Our broad agribusiness perspective allows for quick recognition and assessment of the potential for government programs and policies to assist or distort markets.
Currently in Azerbaijan, Pragma through a subcontract with Sibley International is implementing the USAID Azerbaijan Competitiveness and Trade Project (ACT, 2010-2013). A core objective of the project is to improve value chain competitiveness in key high potential subsectors of the Azerbaijan economy. Pragma is primarily responsible for enhancing value chain competitiveness in Azerbaijan through dynamic institutional strengthening and market linkage assistance. Critical project activities Pragma is undertaking include:
- Improving the competitiveness of targeted sub-sectors through the provision of high-impact training and technical assistance to SMEs, key farmers, agribusinesses, and associations as needed to leverage investment and enhance productivity in targeted value chains; as well as providing cogent analyze of key policy and institutional barriers to growth, and developing innovative responses to effectively address those constraints.
- Improving local institutional capacity to identify and analyze value chain competitiveness potential, and to effectively prioritize and address competitiveness-related policy and institutional constraints.
- Improving institutional capacity to promote knowledge and dissemination of best practice standards in agricultural production/ processing/packaging and related product safety/quality norms, by strengthening the curricula and institutional outreach capacity of agricultural programs in relevant universities and technical schools across Azerbaijan.
- Improving the enabling environment legislative and institutional framework by working with the Government of Azerbaijan and relevant civil society institutions to identify critical reform priorities; assist with the development and dissemination of market-friendly legislative and regulatory reforms; and promote the effective implementation of key reforms in a manner which leverages increased investment and employment in high potential agriculture/agribusiness subsectors.
In Armenia, Pragma is implementing a five-year USAID-funded Enterprise Development and Market Competitiveness Project (EDMC, 2011-2016). The EDMC Program supports the private sector and the Armenian Government in repositioning the economy by identifying high potential value chains and will help place these on a dynamic investment, job creation and export promotion path. One of the areas of focus is development of agriculture/agribusiness. The EDMC team of experts addresses this area of focus in a strategic and practical manner, using innovative approaches to value chain selection which entail the application of rigorous qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques. These in turn will permit a sound technical and political economy analysis of areas of potential competitive advantage and will map-out critical competitiveness enhancement-related reforms and institutional strengthening measures required for Armenia to effectively realize those advantages. Through this effort, the EDMC program will focus on defining and effectively addressing the most critical knowledge, skill and networking gaps which are limiting the expansion of investment, jobs and exports in high potential agriculture agriculture value chains. The program will work directly and indirectly with SMEs. EDMC also works with key government institutions to incorporate critical policy, legal/regulatory and institutional reform priorities, as well as to establish key priorities from a public expenditure and a training/vocational educational perspective required to unleash the competitive potential of the selected value chains. In addition, the EDMC team of experts focus on expanding demand by broadening the range of financial products available to entrepreneurs within the selected value chains: this will include working with innovative commercial finance institutions to develop cutting edge value chain financing products and applying them in-scale to support core SME financing needs.
In 2002-2006, in the Ferghana Valley Region of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, as part of our USAID Enterprise Development Project, Pragma implemented the Ferghana Valley Agroprocessing Initiative (FVAI)—a high-impact pilot project that strengthened agroprocessing in the region so that the sector could contribute more significantly to economic growth and employment in the Ferghana Valley. The FVAI also increased cross-border trade and stimulated greater investment in the region by helping firms produce more high-quality agricultural goods that improve market access. FVAI identified key areas that limit transactions and stifle growth of the industry, and used that information as a platform from which donors could begin delivering targeted technical assistance, training, and financing to local firms. A results-focused farmer training program emphasized practical farm management and technology transfer knowledge to small groups of farmers and effectively linked those groups to value chain networks through contracts with local processors (average contract size of 65 tons). standards), logistics, and finance and credit.
Over the years, Pragma implemented numerous other activities that have ranged from agricultural planning and policy analysis to institution building and direct on-farm assistance.