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Linking Ukrainian SMEs in the fruits and vegetables sector to global and domestic markets and value chains

  • The Linking Ukrainian SMEs in the Fruits and Vegetables Sector to Global and Domestic Markets and Value Chains project is funded by the Government of Sweden and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC). The project aims to help integrate small and medium-sized Ukrainian enterprises (SMEs) in the fruits and vegetable sector into domestic and global value chains and access new markets, with a focus on the EU. Direct beneficiaries of the project include SMEs from the selected value chains, local and sector BSOs, and related government institutions and bodies.


    Agriculture and agribusiness represent a significant share of the Ukrainian economy. With 41.5 million hectares of agricultural land covering 70 percent of the country and about 25 percent of the world’s reserves of black soil, agriculture is Ukraine’s largest export industry. In 2019, Ukraine’s agriculture sector generated approximately 9% of the national GDP.

    According to the foreign trade statistics, exports of fruits and vegetables (F&V), nuts have been showing consistently positive trends during 2016-2020. Despite some observed achievements, the presence of the Ukrainian exporters of the selected product groups remains low in the global economy and the EU. In particular, in the EU, Ukrainian exports represented 2% for vegetables and less than 1% for fruits in 2018.

    Given the natural endowments, proximity to the EU, applied technology, and educated workforce there is an evident untapped potential in the neighbouring markets, particularly the EU. To utilize these opportunities, extra efforts and concerted actions will be required from the Ukrainian producers and all stakeholders. 

    The first phase of the project started in 2016 and lasts until 2021. The second phase will go from 2021 – 2024.

    Phase II aims to maximize the impact of the results already achieved as well as 

    • widen the geographical coverage by including additional regions
    • include the nuts product group and the wine sector


    The Project aims to contribute to enhanced competitiveness and sustained export growth of Ukrainian SMEs in the fruits and vegetables sector.

    To accomplish this, the project will target these 3 main objectives:

    • assist SMEs in producing goods in accordance with market requirements
    • improve the capacities of business support organizations (BSOs) to provide quality business support services to SMEs 
    • link SMEs to target markets, particularly within the EU

    Project approach

    • sectoral approach: proven to be an effective way of removing trade obstacles that affect a whole group of beneficiary enterprises and related institutions to achieve timely and targeted results with the given resources
    • local project presence: essential for effective project implementation, contributed to trust-building between the project and the beneficiary companies as well, and contributed to developing in-country capacities to manage projects of similar nature
    • build trust and foster cooperation between actors in the target sectors: the project aims to build trust with the private sector by demonstrating the success of its direct beneficiaries, as well as maintaining contact and fostering dialogue with business community.
    • inclusive approach will address issues such as gender, diversity, and the environment through encouraging social inclusion and sustainability-driven practices

    The project at a glance

    Phase II of the project will expand upon Phase one, which proved to be beneficial to the stakeholders. Phase II will apply the same strategy while additionally expanding its coverage to the nuts product group. In order to remain efficient, the project will maintain a high level of flexibility to be able to adjust to changing environments and address the emerging needs of the target sectors.  

    On the enterprise level, the project will continue to work with the existing beneficiary SMEs to ensure that they reach the level of confidence necessary to ensure sustainability of their exports in target markets and generate sufficient income to invest into production and pay for services from BSOs. As in Phase I, the project will continue to scale up the number of SME beneficiaries by expanding geography and product coverage. 

    On the BSO level, BSOs in Ukraine are considered to have an important role in sustaining and further facilitating export growth after the project’s end. the project aims to conduct synchronized capacity-building activities for both BSOs and SMEs, so that BSOs are well-positioned to meet demands from SMEs during various stages of their internationalization and growth. 

    On the government level, the project will ensure the participation of government representatives in the different project activities and knowledge-sharing platforms to foster the private-public sector dialogue. It will also involve them in developing strategies to equip them to formulate strategies derived from market perspectives. 


    Output 1. Roadmap updated and/or developed for selected value chains. 

    Output 2. Capacities of SMEs strengthened to improve their international competitiveness

    Output 3. Capacities of sectoral BSOs strengthened to provide SMEs with relevant business support services. 

    Output 4. Market linkages created for SMEs from fruits, vegetables and nuts sectors to expand their sales domestically and internationally (in particular, with a focus on the EU market). 



    • SDG 8 “promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment”
    • SDG 12 concerning “responsible consumption and production”,
    • SDG 9 “industry, innovation & infrastructure”
    • SDG 5 “gender equality”




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