The Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD), together with Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF), and the Turkey-based Fethiye Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), is implementing the project entitled ‘Expanding Economic Ties with Turkey’ (EETT) in response to USAID’s Request for Proposals. The duration of the project is 24 months. The Project has started September 31, 2014.
The project aims to promote mutually beneficial economic partnerships and market linkages between Armenia- and Turkey-based businesses and non-governmental organizations in the dried fruits, dairy processing and greenhouse sectors. The objectives of the project are: (1) To develop and nurture lasting partnerships between non-governmental organizations, entities and businesses from Armenia and Turkey; and (2) To promote joint business activities between Armenia and Turkey through the exchange of technical expertise and increased business transactions in the dairy, dried fruit and greenhouse sectors. The activities start from sector-specific discussions with Armenian farmers and agribusinesses to explore the trade and cooperation needs and opportunities with Turkey. A Mapping Research will document the trade and input/technology exchange potential between Armenian and Turkish agricultural industries. A joint consultation on the “Current State of Armenia-Turkey Economic Ties” will provide a forum for the discussion of the current level of economic interactions. FCCI will foster direct communication between CARD and Armenian beneficiaries with Turkey-based agricultural exhibitions, farmers and agribusinesses, agricultural machinery and input suppliers, agricultural agencies and experts. Three sector-specific AgroTours from Armenia to Turkey will take place, each for 24 farmers/business leaders. After each such tour, AgroTours from Turkey to Armenia will be implemented, with three representatives of Turkish agricultural machinery and input suppliers, agricultural agencies, and individual experts focusing on each of the three sectors. The Turkish experts will conduct on-the-spot trainings for Armenian agribusinesses and farmers. Prior to each of the AgroTours to Armenia and Turkey, EPF in Armenia and the Project Advisor in Turkey will involve the participants in Conflict Sensitization Sessions, to reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and stereotyping, and give first-hand skills on how to communicate and cooperate across divisive issues. CARD will establish distributorship services for Turkey-produced machinery/equipment. By the end of the project, a workshop entitled “Business without Borders” will summarize the achievements and lessons learned. The project will follow a clearly defined publicity strategy, including online talk shows produced at key moments of EETT to give larger audiences a chance to learn about the project and see the results. The project will have several outcomes and results: Armenian agribusinesses will develop awareness of the cooperation opportunities with Turkish companies in the dairy processing, dried fruits and greenhouse sectors; Armenian businesses will explore business improvement opportunities that the Turkish agribusiness industries may offer; new partnerships will be established between groups of businesses in the three sectors; bilateral agreements will be signed as an expression of interest of agribusinesses from Turkey and Armenia to exchange products, services or technical expertise; experts from Turkey will acquire additional expertise on Armenia’s market capacities; a sustainable mechanism of support will be established in CARD for those interested in trade with Turkey; technological know-how in three sectors will be transferred from Turkey to Armenia; one or two new product technologies will possibly be introduced from Turkey in the Armenian market or from Armenia in the Turkish market; CARD will identify at least 3-4 products (equipment, packaging and processing supplies, and others) in demand by local SME agribusinesses and farmers’ cooperatives and link those in need of these products with producers from Turkey, serving at least 5 agribusinesses every year during the project implementation period. CARD will continue providing distributorship services to Armenian businesses after the project ends, based on contacts established during the project’s lifespan. CARD will also organize AgroTours after the project ends.This will contribute to the sustainability of the project’s results. While there are risks, given the stalled relations at the government level, CARD and partners will design systems to reduce and mitigate them.