Platform for Regional Cooperation in Agriculture


One of the first initiatives aimed at promoting cooperation for peace and stability in the region was the ICHD’s program on creation of a platform for regional cooperation in the sector of agriculture. ICHD’s approach considered leveraging business interests and markets in the countries of the region for peace-building and security. Thus Track Two program that evolved through 2002-2004 has commenced with market promotion projects and accomplished with the creation of the Platform for regional cooperation in agriculture, a unique B2B/B2C catalyst for the agriculture business actors in the region. The further progress of Armenian-Turkish rapprochement will revamp the platform in a new quality.


As the first step back to October 2002, the ICHD supported by the American University’s Center for Global Peace, have organized a Regional Agricultural Fair in Gyumri, Armenia’s Shirak region to bring together first time ever the farmers and food processing companies from the South Caucasus countries. The fair became a genuine common ground to various businesses from different countries providing opportunities to promote their products and establish business relations with counterparts: farmers and companies from other countries. About 100 farmers and food processing companies from Armenia, Turkey and Georgia participated in the fair and established new business relations.

As the agricultural fair has successfully echoed in various business contacts throughout the region, ICHD has moved to the second step of its program. In late 2002, ICHD in cooperation with Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council (TABDC, Turkey) prepared and launched the Virtual Agricultural Wholesale Market (VAWM), another B2B/B2C instrument to foster agriculture market development in the region further. The VAWM received the support of the American University’s Center for Global Peace. Regional centers, which collected information on agricultural products available for wholesale trade in have been established throughout regions in Armenia in 2002-2003. The information provided by the farmers has then been consolidated, classified and published in an electronic database: the core of the platform. The VAWM platform has proved to be a viable and valid instrument as the first trade agreements among the platform subscribers showed up.

The success of the VAWM platform allowed ICHD to take the platform to the next level. The Marketing Network of the Caucasus (MANEC) has been launched at replacing the first electronic database of the virtual agricultural market. Evolving from the VAWM platform, MANEC became a fully-fledged portal with advanced features. Fed by the information on available agricultural goods provided through its regional offices, MANEC became an effective platform enabling communication between buyers and sellers. Originally created to support the agricultural sector of the economy by extending marketing capacities and possibilities for local producers, MANEC successfully served as a clearinghouse on agriculture markets and regional intermediary in this sector in 2003-2004.



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