March 26, 2023

Tag: InternalMarket


New report touts agrocorridors as economic driver

Photo: ©FAO/J. M. Micaud

Farmers dry rice on the road to Hon Don in Vietnam.

11 March, 2015, Rome – Economic “agrocorridors” can be a strategic tool to draw private capital and large-scale investment to projects that benefit smallholder farmers and boost food security in lower-income countries, according to a new FAO report that provides guidance on how development planners can avoid pitfalls.

These corridors, according to the report, are development programmes that foster promising economic sectors – notably agriculture in developing countries – in a territory connected by lines of transportation like highwaysrailroads, port or canals.

The strength of this approach is its integration of investments, policy frameworks and local institutions.

“The key idea is not just to make transportation or irrigation infrastructure improvements but to provide a platform that enables and empowers authorities at local, national and regional levels to make more informed decisions about what they want to achieve,” says FAO agribusiness economist Eva Gálvez Nogales, author of “Making economic corridors work for the agricultural sector.”

The 200-page tome reviews in detail six case studies, including three well-advanced corridor programmes in Central Asia, the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia and Peru; and three new projects still largely in the early implementation phase, in Indonesia, Mozambique and Tanzania.

So-called economic corridors are hardly new – an archetype is the Silk Road – but their potential as engines of broad-based sustainable development has been largely untapped.

Traditionally, they have been used to bolster physical connectivity to improve the functioning of markets, or with a narrow focus, such as linking mines to ports. But corridors can be harnessed to smarter planning initiatives, aimed at enhancing agricultural opportunities, achieving explicit targets such as creating rural jobs, environmental goals and catalyzing improved governance along value chains, all of which the report notes are needed “to spur inclusive and sustainable growth in the developing world.

They also offer an important opportunity to engage the private sector’s capital and trading skills to foster adequate investment in agriculture and respond to the challenge of hunger,” says Gálvez Nogales.

Artichokes and bridges

Effective corridors need to be geared to the competitive advantages of a territory rather than conceived as a miracle method to make a desert bloom.

They “should be developed in areas where there is already economic density and untapped growth potential that can be maximized,” she says.

One of the corridor projects that catalyzed new thinking by development experts was the Poverty Reduction and Alleviation Project in Peru, which began in 1998 and focused on the role of intermediate cities rather than rural areas in alleviating poverty. It also adopted a novel pro-business approach relying on “star connector firms” able to quickly expand commercial networks along 13 corridors in the Peruvian jungle and highlands.

This led to the flowering of overlooked market opportunities. For example, Peru is now the world’s third-largest exporter of artichokes, which are produced through outgrower contracts and processed in several corridors.

 Gálvez Nogales emphasizes that corridor schemes can have even stronger impacts when they cross national borders, especially if developed under the auspices of regional trade agreements.  That deepens potential market opportunities, making it possible to forge multi-stakeholder alliances and keep private-sector players engaged in the development process.

One such corridor is known as the Greater Mekong Subregion corridor programme, spanning Cambodia, Viet Nam, Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and some Chinese provinces. One can already see improved bridges and customs procedures at border towns and even contract farming that spans national frontiers.

The three C’s: connectivity, competitiveness and the sense of community

Gálvez Nogales defines the “three Cs” of a successful corridor as: connectivity, competitiveness and the sense of community.
Multiple stakeholders – businesses and farmers, but also different levels of regional government – must from the outset be brought together in the identification of “soft” targets and harmonized environmental, social and food security safeguards  in order to avoid disputes that emerge in the wake of “hard” infrastructure investments.

Decisive clarification of land tenure issues – ideally with the help of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land is essential, not least as biofuel projects, which can alter land use patterns, often feature in corridor plans.

While specific policies vary broadly between corridors, the adoption of inclusive business models is a shared imperative. It is also useful that policies be “designed for scaling up to a transformative level,” which can best be done by mobilizing the right “change agent,” which could depending on the context be a company or a farmer association or government extension agents, or also in the food processing and trade areas.

Governance is key

Properly-designed corridors are also a tool favoring natural resource governance.

“Corridors can in fact allow for better management of environment risks and practices such as unsuitable monocropping,” said Eugenia Serova, director of FAO’s Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division and also coordinator for FAO’s SO4, the strategic objective linked to enabling inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems.
 “The key is for inclusive coordination of stakeholder interests both in the planning and execution phase,” Serova said.

While high-profile transportation infrastructure consumes the bulk of monetary resources, relatively intangible public goods and services such as standard contracts, legal advice, extension services, land banks and innovative financing mechanisms are just as important. Coordinated public-private partnerships which link local and central governments can improve the efficiency of local bureaucracies, turning the corridor into the catalyst of better governance of the needed investments.


An agro-based cluster is the geographic concentration of interconnected producers, agribusinesses and institutions that are engaged in the same agricultural or agro-industrial subsector, and interconnect and build value networks when addressing common challenges and pursuing common opportunities.
An agro-industrial park is a centrally-managed platform that offers high-quality infrastructure, logistics and specialized facilities and services to a community of tenants, formed by agro-industries, related agribusiness firms, service providers and knowledge institutions.
An agro-based special economic zone is a demarcated geographic area where firms engaged in agribusiness and agro-industrial activities benefit from a more favourable regulatory, business and fiscal environment than those in the rest of the country.
An agribusiness incubator is an entrepreneurial development model that provides a common environment (either physical or virtual) to nascent agro-based companies, where they have access to shared infrastructure, and networking, coaching, business and financial services.
An agricultural value chain is defined as the full range of farms and firms and their successive coordinated value-adding activities that produce particular raw agricultural materials and transform them into particular agricultural and food products that are sold to consumers and disposed of after use.

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Legal Matters, PolicyAgriculture, PolicyRegional

Daily News 22 / 12 / 2014

Passenger rights: Eurobarometer survey shows one in three EU citizens are aware of their rights when travelling

The European Commission released today the results of a new Eurobarometer survey on passenger rights. Nearly one third of EU citizens are aware of their rights and obligations when buying a ticket to travel (31%), although 59 % said to be unaware of them according to the survey. The results also show a very high level of satisfaction among passengers who need assistance due to a disability or reduced mobility: 81% of them were happy with the assistance received. Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport said: “Citizens are my number one priority when it comes to European Transport and I want to ensure that they are aware of their rights when travelling. It is important that rights don’t only exist on paper. Today’s survey shows that progress has been made, particularly for persons with a disability or reduced mobility, but clearly more can be done. However let’s not forget that all EU citizens are covered by passenger rights under EU law wherever and however they travel – this is already a brilliant achievement for our Union. Now, our priority will be to make sure all Europeans know their rights when they travel. Let’s work together to achieve this!” For more detailed information click here. Video message from Commissioner Bulc on passenger rights. (for more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Joshua Salsby – Tel.: +32 229 72459)


EU to support agriculture sector and improve education in Cambodia

The European Union has announced new funding of total €410 million under its bilateral cooperation with Cambodia over the period 2014-2020 to continue its support to Cambodia’s progress. The funds will help to strengthen agriculture and natural resource management, provide better education and implement governance and administration reforms. Cambodia has achieved outstanding socio-economic progress over the past 10 years. The majority of the population lifted out of poverty however remains highly vulnerable. The EU has therefore decided to increase its support to Cambodia to help the country’s ambitions to further reduce poverty, to promote equitable and sustainable growth and to enhance good governance, democracy and the rule of law. In addition to this bilateral programme, Cambodia will continue receiving support under other EU thematic and regional instruments and programmes. More details are available here. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229-69921; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229-92256)

EU increases humanitarian aid for South Sudan

The European Commission is increasing its life-saving assistance to South Sudan by €7.78 million, bringing its 2014 relief aid for one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises to more than €117 million. The new funds will provide shelter, water, hygiene and protection to the people affected by the conflict. They will also help South Sudanese refugees in Sudan. In addition, the Commission supports the overall refugee response in the Horn of Africa with around €50 million, which includes aid to South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. Humanitarian funding from the EU – its Member States and the European Commission – for South Sudan stands at over €273 million in 2014. The conflict in South Sudan has resulted in the death of tens of thousands and the displacement of two million people. More details are available here. (For more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69 921, Irina Novakova – Tel.: +32 229 575 17).


EU releases emergency funds for humanitarian assistance to Libya

The European Commission is giving €2 million in emergency funding to assist scores of Libyans who have been forced to flee their homes because of worsening violence in the country. The funding will provide essential humanitarian assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict. It will be used to provide food, shelter, medical assistance and psycho-social support. The approaching winter will also increase the need for warm clothing, heaters and insulated shelter. “It is clear that there are huge needs and the emergency aid we are providing can be a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable families caught up in the conflict,” said the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. A press release is available with more details. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229-69921; Irina Novakova – Tel.: +32 229-57517)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Nutreco by SHV

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Nutreco by SHV, both of the Netherlands. Nutreco is active in the production, sale and distribution of nutritional products for fish and livestock animals, under brands such as Trouw and Skretting. SHV operates worldwide in energy distribution (SHV Energy), cash-and-carry wholesale (through Makro stores in South America), heavy lifting and transport activities (Mammoet), mechanical engineering components and industrial services (ERIKS), oil and gas (Dyas), and private equity (NPM Capital). The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the activities of SHV and Nutreco do not overlap. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website in the public case register under the case number M.7471. (for more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.:+32 229 56182; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission approves IMS Health’s acquisition of parts of Cegedim, subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of part of the customer relationship management and strategic data business of Cegedim S.A. of France by IMS Health of the US. The decision is conditional upon IMS’ commitment to divest parts of its primary market research business and to grant third party access to the structure underlying its sales tracking data, the so-called “brick structure”. The Commission had concerns that the proposed transaction could lead to less choice and higher prices for customers of standardised primary market research services. Also, the Commission had concerns that IMS Health could refuse to give access to its “brick structure” to its competitors. This would have prevented IMS Health’s competitors from competing effectively on the market. The commitments address these concerns. The full press release is available here. (for more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.:+32 229 56182; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Culture: Europe’s historical sites up for the European heritage label  

Today, sixteen historically and culturally important sites around Europe have been recommended to receive the European Heritage Label (EHL). The label celebrates the cultural diversity of the continent and highlights a sense of a shared European belonging. A series of information and educational activities related to the sites will also be organised. The sites have been selected by an independent panel set up by the European Commission, and are spread across 10 Member States. They include sites in Germany (Sites of the Peace of Westphalia in Münster and Osnabrück; Hambach Castle); Greece (the Heart of Ancient Athens);  Spain (Archive of the Crown of Aragon; Residencia de Estudiantes); France (Abbey of Cluny; Robert Schuman’s House); Hungary (Pan European Picnic Memorial Park); Italy (Museo Casa Alcide De Gasperi); Lithuania (Kaunas of 1919-1940); Poland (Union of Lublin; the May 3 Constitution of 1791; the historic Gdańsk Shipyard; Portugal (General Library of the University of Coimbra, Charter of Law of Abolition of the death Penalty); and Slovenia (Franja Partisan Hospital). The Commission will formally nominate the sites in February 2015. More information about the EHL and the sites can be found here. (for more information: Lucia Caudet  – Tel.:+32 229 56182, Mirna Bratoz – Tel.:+32 229 87278)

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