The International Trade Centre (ITC) works to build sustainable agricultural exports and strengthen intraregional trade. In 2012 alone, ITC assisted farmers, communities and agri-food enterprises in 23 least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS), increasing their trade and income-generating capacity by 10–20% on average. ITC’s interventions are based on market demand, ensuring sustainability: we assist enterprises in meeting market needs, upgrading value chains and facilitating the creation of linkages between sellers and buyers.
Building inclusive and sustainable agribusiness value chains is at the heart of ITC’s work - We deliver home-grown, market-led solutions to identify opportunities for value acquisition, retention, addition, creation and distribution in order to maximize the agriculture sector contributions to broad-based socio-economic development.
ITC aims to improve the quality and quantity of fruits and vegetables exported by developing countries. To do so, we create strategic development plans outlining the status of the fruit and vegetable market in a country and explain how to overcome the challenges to reach a target exporting goal. This involves working with farmers, exporters, importers, trade support institutions and policymakers, and providing them with training and advice.
ITC’s The Coffee Exporter’s Guide is the world’s most extensive source of information on all aspects of international trade of coffee. Topics include production and sales statistics, contracts, logistics, electronic trade, futures, hedging, quality issues, certifications, social aspects, environment and climate change. The guide is accessible online, free of charge.
Export prices of cocoa have been high since 2002, compared with prices of most other agricultural products from developing countries. This partly explains why ITC has had only a few, small projects in the cocoa sector in recent years.
The cotton sector provides income for millions of people in Africa alone, especially those living in rural areas, and is an important source of foreign-exchange earnings. ITC’s efforts in this sector are aimed at making Africa a stronger player in the international cotton trade. A key part of this is boosting the competitiveness of those working in the sector and establishing stronger links with cotton importers, especially in Asia.
Jute and other hard fibres could stage a comeback in world markets, in response to the increase in oil prices, which hurts the competitiveness of synthetic jute substitutes. However, in order to take advantage of this opportunity, producers and processers need to convert to higher-quality fibre and increase their productivity.
The world market for imported spices and culinary herbs is large, valued at around US$ 4 billion. Least developed countries such as Comoros, Madagascar and the United Republic of Tanzania earn a substantial part of their foreign exchange from spice exports.
Medicinal plants and extracts are increasingly important export products for many developing countries. As populations age and consumers’ preference for natural health products increases, medicinal plants present a niche that exporters in many least developed countries are looking to develop for sustainable production and export trade.
Cut flowers and ornamental young plants are very important export products for several developing countries in East Africa, South and Central America, and the Middle East. Consumption is on the rise, mainly in emerging markets like China, India, the Russian Federation, East Asia and Eastern Europe. Demand in the traditional markets of Japan, North America and Western Europe is also growing, although more slowly. ITC’s floriculture blog provides a wealth of information about current trends in the sector.
Essential oils are raw materials from botanic sources that are used in the flavour and fragrance industries. Oleoresins are the resins from which highly concentrated essential oils can be derived. The recent growth of the aromatherapy industry has opened up a new and important niche market for complete oils.