USAID, through its five-year Agricultural Growth and Rural Development (AGRO) Program, focuses primarily on increasing agricultural productivity, marketability, and responsiveness to markets and will enhance the sustainability and competitiveness of targeted Kosovar agribusinesses in domestic and export markets. The proposed program strategies followed are:
Improving Collaboration among Critical Value Chain Participants
The focus is primarily on building the sustainability of critical value chain participants/strategic partners, large buyers/aggregators, processors, collection centers and pack house facilities, producers and producer associations.
Scaling Up the Adoption of Crops and Technologies
The Program works with strategic partners to embed the provision of inputs (improve seed and plant materials, fertilizer, and plant protection products), access to modern equipment, as well as technical services promoting the adoption of new technologies, into the services they offer to contract growers. In this way strategic partners, will increasingly drive the agricultural economy in Kosovo.
The Program works with Top Fruit value chains (apples, pears, sour cherry, and table grape); Soft Fruits (raspberry, blueberry, strawberry); Vegetables (pepper, tomato, gherkin, lettuce and asparagus); cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants and in the livestock sector, the promotion of fluid milk sales in Kosovo.
Linking Products to Markets
The Program will scale up supply contracting between producers and aggregators, instituting long-term supply contracts with local supermarkets and hotels. Integrating more actors, particularly youth, into distribution services will also greatly assist in linking production to markets. Improving product labeling and packaging, and conducting production promotion events will improve public perception of, and ultimately increased demand for, agricultural products produced in Kosovo.
Addressing Food Safety and Quality Issues
The approach to improving food safety and the adoption of quality standards focuses on four distinct levels: 1) raising public awareness of food safety and quality standards; 2) building local capacity and infrastructure necessary to advise and audit farmers and agribusinesses regarding food safety and quality certification; 3) establishing local certification bodies (or local branches of certification bodies based in the EU); and 4) assisting Strategic Partners in obtaining quality certifications.