Expertise France, the French technical cooperation agency, has been entrusted by the European Union with a major Private Sector Development Programme in Lebanon. This programme is structured around three different components:
1. Component 1: agribusiness value chains in the Bekaa and Akkar.
2. Component 2: wood Processing value chain in Tripoli (with focus on furniture production).
3. Component 3: access to finance.
The programme aims to increase micro, small and medium enterprises competitiveness, productivity and participation in the economy by fostering their development and integration into value chains.
The specific objective of the programme is to provide integrated nonfinancial and financial intermediation services to groups of Micro and SMEs in the agribusiness and wood processing sectors through the establishment, management and operation of market-oriented value chains and clusters, with special focus on enhancement of productivity and competitiveness. Value chains and clusters are considered as the most appropriate specific approach for achieving concrete results in terms of effective inter-business, inter-sectoral and private/public institutional linkages.
The expected outputs are:
1. MSMEs are reorganised into stronger groups for a more efficient and cost-effective use of inputs and resources
2. Market positioning and market access of MSMEs in the targeted sectors are expanded
3. Access to finance is facilitated for needed investments; available funding instruments are better used
4. New jobs and inclusive employment are created as a result of increased production and sales
As regards to the agribusiness component in the Bekaa, the inception phase diagnostics research has identified the below main activities of relevance to the enhancement of productivity and competitiveness of tables grapes and cherry value chains.
A1.1 Setting up a Value Chain Information System
A1.2 Promoting marketing, sales and communications
A1.3 Business support to producers
A1.4 Technical support to producers
A1.5 Business and technical support to exporters and post-harvest
The implementation of these activities will be ensured either directly by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Zahle (CCIAZ) has been awarded a grant to accomplish the tasks expected of it or through the recruitment of dedicated operators by Expertise France.