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With an office in Skopje the AgBiz program will promote greater linkages in the following ways:
  • Fast-Track Transactions Identification
    The objective of this early activity is to enable AgBiz to quickly target program assistance on immediately implement-able transactions, and to achieve successful program supported sales within one year.  Every AgBiz program intervention must lead to commercially viable and sustainable transactions. Lasting commercial relationships are always based on a series of successful, near term, positive cash flow and profit-generating transactions that build trust and mutual confidence over time. These near term positive cash flow and profit elements are critical, since they create private sector interest and willingness to make the changes necessary for longer term commercial sustainability.

  • Value Chain Competitiveness Enhancement Opportunity and Constraints Identification
    Once the value chains for competitiveness enhancement have been selected, significant participants in the middle, e.g., processors, and end links, e.g., marketers, of the selected value chains will be contacted to determine their level of interest in participating in AgBiz value chain competitiveness enhancement activities. The major focus of this work will be to a) determine what these value chain participants believe are the most significant opportunities for expanding the number and average value of transactions in their value chain, and b) what they see as the most significant constraints to improving the competitiveness of their value chain.  Identification of the most viable target markets will be achieved in close cooperation with participants in the later links in the selected value chains, and via market-based research when needed.

  • Value Chain Competitiveness Enhancement Opportunity and Constraints Identification

  • 2009 Activities

    1. Participation in the BIOFACH 2009 Trade Fair and Study Tour

    The BIOFACH 2009 Trade Fair took place from 18 - 22 February 2009 in Nuremberg, Germany and provided Macedonian companies involved in organic production and processing an opportunity to present their product range. Biofach is the biggest trade fair in the EU dealing with organic products. Companies from the EU and other countries visit the fair as buyers or sellers of organic products and services.

    During the Fair, many presentations, discussions on organic trends, marketing possibilities, changes of EU regulations and new products and product lines launches were organized.The Biofach Trade Fair was a new experience for Macedonian companies, and an attempt to establish or enhance EU buyers’ perception of Macedonian suppliers as viable sources of high quality organic products.14 participants from 8 agribusinesses and 1 Producer Organization exhibited at or visited and studied the Fair.

    Participants established contacts with new potential buyers, and anticipate orders at the beginning of the coming season. Supporters of this activity were AgBiz and Osec/SIPPO.

    2. Wild Gathered Products Companies Study Tour to the Alimentaria Food Exhibition in Lisbon

    This study tour was for a group of representatives of Macedonian WGP exporters to the Alimentaria Lisboa Trade Fair in Portugal. Alimentaria is among the top five key food shows in Europe, was held April 19 to 22, 2009 and switches annually between Lisbon, Portugal and Barcelona, Spain. The fair is one of the most relevant food-related regional trade fairs for Macedonian WGP exporters targeting the Spanish and Portuguese export markets.

    Alimentaria Food was a new experience for the Macedonian companies, and an attempt to establish direct sales to companies in Spain and Portugal, traditional large markets for Lactarious mushrooms.

    Macedonian Wild Gathered Products exporters’ achieved a better understanding of EU markets for Lactarious mushrooms - with emphasis on Spain and Portugal, made contact with potential buyers and increased their knowledge of regional EU, especially Spanish and Portuguese, market requirements.

    3. Macedonian Table Grapes Producers Study Tour to California

    The study tour took place from the 1st to the 11th of March 2009 in South and Central California, USA. The activity exposed six leaders in the Macedonian table grape value chain to new technologies and management practices with the potential to enhance their competitiveness. Participants investigated and now understand integrated production and post-harvest systems that can be applied in their enterprises and their existing table grapes varieties. The study tour included subjects to increase participants’ knowledge regarding how to conform to responsible agrichemical chemical usage, and the stringent post-harvest residue requirements of sophisticated markets.

    The program combined class room training and on site visits that allowed participants to learn about and observe advanced pack-house operations and layouts for fresh grape handling, and ways and objectives for establishing table grape marketing and trade organizations.

    AgBiz customers were able to discuss with experts from the University of California at Davis topics such as the world table grapes market, table grape marketing systems and wholesale and retail marketing of table grapes in the United States. During the study tour the group visited the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, table grape production facilities in the Coachella Valley, facilities for the production of disease free healthy root stock, wine grape producing areas, and table grape production operations in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

    4. Seven Macedonian Companies Exhibit in a National Stand at FRUIT LOGISTICA 2009

    MAFWE, USAID’s AgBiz Program, GTZ MAFP and Osec/SIPPO supported the “Presentation of Macedonian Companies at the Fruit Logistica International Trade Fair” that took place in Berlin, Germany February 2 – 7, 2009.

    FRUIT LOGISTICA, Berlin is an international trade fair that provides industries involved in fresh fruit and vegetables marketing an opportunity to present their products and services from growing to selling. One of the main attractions of FRUIT LOGISTICA is that it is a compact, highly effective show focusing on specific target groups. It offers developing country exhibitors marketing opportunities for "exotic" produce, and gives newcomers from Central and Eastern Europe an excellent venue for presenting their products to the international trade and establishing new business contacts. Participants in 2009 included growers, fresh produce importers and exporters, wholesale markets, wholesale and retail outlets, packing, shipping and disposal companies, institutions, and associations.

    5. Vegetables Processing Companies Study Tour in Bulgaria

    The Vegetables Processing Companies Study Tour in Bulgaria took place from 4-7 March ’09 in Sofia, Plovdiv and Stara Zagora. This activity was organized by AgBiz for Macedonian companies to increase their knowledge of the Bulgarian processed vegetables industry. Macedonian companies were able to learn from Bulgarian companies’ SAPARD experience, and assess their own competitiveness in supplying traditional processed vegetable products to EU and other markets based on what they learned from Bulgarian companies.

    The four days Study Tour was organized and conducted with the aim of providing ten AgBiz customers with first hand information on Bulgarian experience in using EU SAPARD funds through 1) a series of meetings with the owners/managers of vegetable processing plants; 2) visiting modern vegetables processing plants, well equipped cold stores, and other production facilities that utilized SAPARD program funding, 3) meetings with representatives of the most successful consulting company-CIBOLA in Bulgaria that was responsible for preparing project applications for using SAPARD and other EU pre accession instruments and 4) meetings with the Management Board of the Bulgarian Union of F&V Processors.

    The greatest benefit to participants was the opportunity to hold meetings and observe big Bulgarian processing plants with modern equipment. Participants obtained first hand information regarding the trends and achieved clear insights on how modern and functional businesses use EU funds.

    6. Macedonian Wineries Exhibit at the ProWein 2009 Trade Fair

    The ProWein Trade Fair that took place between the 29th and 31st of March in Dusseldorf, Germany is one of the most relevant wine and spirits trade shows, and brings producers from Germany, Europe and every wine-producing area of the world together with key buyers, importers, wholesalers, and HORECA clients. Following successful experience and results from ProWein 2008 in creating better understanding of specific markets’ preferences and opportunities to enter sales in Germany and other EU markets, Popova Kula, Bovin, Skovin and Dalvina expressed a strong interest to take part in ProWein 2009.

    This Activity was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, who covered the cost of exhibition space rent, water and electricity supply, stand cleaning and a basic catalogue entry.

    Participants established more than 30 serious contacts - some likely to turn into export sales contracts, shared price lists and discussed other preconditions with potential buyers interested in purchasing Macedonian wines.

    7. Vine Pruning Media Tour

    Macedonian National TV interviewed Goran Damovski, the Bottled Wine Value Chain Coordinator, on the site of an AgBiz customer. The ten minute interview in front of Popova Kula’s vineyards included introducing AgBiz capacity enhancement activities related to bottled wine, and presenting the Popova Kula business expansion Project supported by AgBiz.

    8. Bottled Wine Media Tour

    The goal of this tour was to inform the media about the types of support AgBiz is providing to the Bottled Wine Value Chain, and to provide firsthand information “on the ground” to media representatives about the types and quality of wines produced in Macedonia, and the opportunities for improving their competitiveness in regional and world markets.

    The tour included visits to three wineries - Tikvesh, Bovin and Grkov. At all three venues journalists had an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the managers and wine makers, visit the winery facilities and sample wines. Five journalists from three newspapers, a representative from Radio “Kanal 77”, and electronic media representatives from “Total” and “Porta 3” participated in the tour.

    The AgBiz Bottled Wine Value Chain Coordinator, international wine expert Mr. William Talbot, and local expert Goran Milanov, Deputy Director of the Institute of Agriculture, Department of Oenology and Viticulture participated in the media tour and were interviewed by journalists. This resulted in a lengthy interview with them and a large article being published in “Kapital”..
  • Support Program Development and Implementation
    Once the priority opportunities and constraints in each of the selected value chains have been identified, AgBiz will work with participants in these value chains to develop specific projects for helping individual firms, or groupings of firms or producers, to capitalize on the identified opportunities and overcome the constraints.  This support will be structured as a package of services needed by a firm, or grouping of firms or producers (AgBiz customer) in the selected value chains, to capitalize on the identified opportunities and/or overcome the constraints to competitiveness in high opportunity markets.  This package will be referred to as a customer project.  AgBiz may provide direct technical support to customers via approved support projects, and/or share the cost of implementing the project with the customer

  • Policy and Institutional Reforms
    Reforms needed in the enabling environment, based on their impacts the selected value chains, will be identified via our transactions development and implementation experience, and advocacy to reform the priority constraints will be implemented by the most relevant Macedonian associations, not directly by AgBiz.
    AgBiz, working with its partner AIRD, will implement policy work collaboratively with associations and members of the targeted value chains to identify, via actual competitiveness enhancement activities, the underlying regulations and/or government linked institutions that inhibit the targeted value chains’ successful completion and sustainability of transactions and sales contracts. Once high priority policy and/or institutional constraints have been identified, AgBiz will stimulate dialogue with the Government of Macedonia through business associations and USAID. We will strengthen the capacity of local associations to lobby effectively with government officials, and advocate for an enabling environment that supports competitive and sustainable legitimate transactions. AgBiz will coordinate with USAID’s Business Environment Activity on our policy and institutional reform activities.

  • Financing Secured for Customers
    AgBiz, working in concert with our partner Crimson Capital, will help customers in the selected value chains secure cost and terms effective financing for their projects, i.e., competitiveness enhancement activities and sales contracts. In addition to assisting with developing business plans and credit applications, AgBiz will develop a collaborative relationship with a range of alternative sources of financing to understand their requirements for financing AgBiz customers, and the comparative advantages and disadvantages of these alternative sources. This will enable AgBiz to influence banks and other financing providers regarding the technical merit and repayment ability of AgBiz customers seeking financing. In addition to bank financing, we will explore and promote trade financing, leasing, equity and other financial products, and loan guarantee programs such as USAID’s Development Credit Authority, and innovative public-private partnerships as related to USAID’s Global Development Alliance. We will place greatest emphasis on sources that offer the sustainable financing mechanisms needed by the value chain, but we will not reject shorter term solutions to financing constraints.


Fast-track Transaction Identification »
Value Chain Competitiveness Enhancement Opportunity and Constraints Identification »
Support Program Development and Implementation »
Policy and Institutional Reforms »
Financing Secured for Customers »


AgBiz Program First Year Accomplishment (.PDF 748 KB)

Agribusiness Finance Manual (.PDF 1.38MB)

AgBiz Program Newsletter (.PDF 317KB)
National Agricultural and Rural Development Strategy for the period 2007-2013 (.DOC 1.78MB)


The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development
U. S. Department of Agriculture
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)


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