The Markets for Meghri project (M4M) is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and aims at fostering economic development through horticulture development in Syunik Marz (Southern Region of Armenia). The first phase of the project has been implemented by “Intercooperation” – a long standing Swiss implementing partner of SDC, and “Shen” an Armenian NGO active in rural development. The project’s first phase started in December 2009 and completed in November 2012. After the completion of the first phase SDC has decided to continue its development commitment towards the Meghri region economic development (city located in Syunik Marz) in the framework of its regional cooperation strategy 2013-2017, and therefore has extended the M4M project for another 4-year phase, starting in January 2013. The second phase is implemented by “HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation” (two Swiss organisations were merged in 2010: Intercooperation and Helvetas) in cooperation with the “Centre for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD) Foundation”, Armenia.
The M4M uses the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach which is aimed to poverty reduction. The central idea is that the poor are dependent on market systems for their livelihoods. Therefore changing those market systems to work more effectively and sustainably for the poor will improve their livelihoods and consequently reduce poverty. More accessible and competitive markets enable poor people to find their own way out of poverty by providing more real choices and opportunities.
The M4M project has four areas of interventions (outcomes) which address the main constraints that farmers, processors and traders face to increase their production and profitability. They are:
ü Access to Knowledge, Information and Input Supply- service providers and input suppliers provide farmers with better access to up-to-date agricultural information and inputs;
ü Access to Finance – financial service providers offer more, better and tailored advice to farmers, processors and other private players in the horticulture market as well as access to capital for investments;
ü Improved Market Access – improved commercial linkages between farmers and buyers (processors, traders, retailers, exporters) allow access to higher value markets;
ü Advocacy and Business Environment Development – local government (municipalities and provincial government) adopts and implements a strategy towards creating a more conducive business environment for investment promotion in horticulture through public-private partnership.
The project interventions will facilitate changes in services and supporting functions which currently undermine the performance of the sector. Following the M4P logic, the project will never perform relevant functions/services itself, but will always seek to stimulate relevant market players to take on new services/functions or performing them better. CARD implements this project in close collaboration with government at different levels, processing and trading companies, farmers, other development projects operating in Meghri region, business providing companies.