Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress is a project designed to reduce poverty in Pakistan by strengthening small-scale agribusinesses in two provinces: Balochistan and Sindh.
GRASP is implemented by the International Trade Centre - the joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization - with active participation from local partners. The project is funded by the delegation of the European Union to Pakistan with a budget of up to €48,000,000.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up the bulk of businesses in Pakistan. To achieve broad, sustainable economic growth, these firms must grow and create jobs for the increasing workforce. Livestock and horticulture - which account for 70% of value-added agriculture - have particularly strong potential for growth, climate adaptation and increased participation of women.
GRASP will help small and medium sized enterprises in horticulture and livestock become
more competitive by making improvements at all levels of the value chain.
GRASP starts from the market and works towards the farmer. In other words, it focuses on what markets, buyers and consumers want. It then equips producers and the small and medium-sized enterprises trading with them, with the skills, technology and services needed to meet that demand. Demand in Pakistan for safe, nutritious and quality food is rising. By improving product quality at every stage, from planting to production to packaging and transport, small-scale agribusinesses - including those led by women and youth - will increase their productivity and profitability.
The project aims to provide producers with targeted services, such as access to market information, credit and training. It will support firms in processing commodities into value-added goods, adopting better technology and building efficient and inclusive supply chains. By producing and delivering in-demand goods that meet standards of quality and safety, producers and business managers will earn higher incomes, expand their businesses and create jobs.
Women form about half of the agriculture workforce in Pakistan yet, are constrained in ownership, influence over incomes, access to good practices and mobility, which reduces productivity and incomes. This gender gap imposes high costs on the agriculture sector and is one of the reasons why the sector has been underperforming. If access to resources and opportunities is enhanced for women not only will the sector reap huge productivity and economic gains, but the broader economy and society as well.
The GRASP project aims to reduce this gender gap by creating gender inclusive employment and income opportunities in the rural areas through targeted support to both the public and private sectors. The project has developed a gender mainstreaming strategy which will ensure gender inclusiveness in all the project's interventions and will seek to enhance women's participation in agricultural value chains. In addition to applying a gender lens across all project outputs, the project has also defined a specific gender output under which it will provide support to women farmer groups, and women led MSMEs to enhance their participation in selected value chains and improve their incomes and livelihoods.
The GRASP team has a nuanced understanding of challenges women face in accessing more opportunities and resources as well as the complexity brought about by the variation between and within regions (Balochistan and Sindh). This has been carefully translated into the project's interventions, which will lead to sustainable inclusive growth and long-term measurable impact in the agriculture sectors of Sindh and Balochistan.
GRASP will improve the regulatory environment at the provincial level through business environment and agriculture policy. It will improve value chain coordination through rural MSME development strategies.
The GRASP team will also enhance policy dialogue around horticulture and livestock at provincial levels, improve domestic commerce policy and firm registration processes, and strengthen the food safety legal framework for quality management.
GRASP will take an integrated approach to build up capacities of rural MSMEs and agribusiness support services, focused on productivity and quality compliance.
This includes enhancing climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies in selected value chains in horticulture and livestock, as well as building up capacities to add value through processing the products, with an emphasis on improving MSME food safety culture.
Tailored interventions are developed to increase capacities of women to engage in economic opportunities in farming and processing.
The project will focus on developing MSMEs by improving market linkages through private sector-led alliances and improving dissemination of market information. Outcome 3 will have a special focus to develop collaboration with financial institutions to enable rural MSMEs to acquire technologies to improve sustainability.