unctad.org | Launch of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) / UN Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity Project: Market value chains relating to horticultural products for responsible tourism market access
Statement by Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD
Launch of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) / UN Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity Project: Market value chains relating to horticultural products for responsible tourism market access
Arusha, Tanzania
10 Apr 2014


It is a pleasure for me to participate in the launch event for this promising project that brings together the comparative advantages of multiple sectors, as well as the multiple government agencies and international partners that have coalesced around it. The title of the project alone is quite long, but this illustrates its multifaceted objectives: "Market value chains relating to horticultural products for responsible tourism market access". The long name of this project also hints at the complexity of its approach in targeting two different productive sectors - horticulture and tourism.

Targeting two seemingly unrelated sectors may seem odd at first. However, it is this integrated treatment of trade and development that it is a hallmark of our approach at UNCTAD, and I am confident that the links that this project has identified between these two sectors will benefit not only the project recipients themselves, but will also serve as a model for Tanzania as a whole. Building synergies between different sectors of the economy is precisely how countries can profit from the interdependent nature of our interconnected globalized economy.

The key innovation of this project is the inclusion of small horticulture producers in value chains generated by the development of tourism. The goal is to upgrade and generate productive capacity of small horticultural producers, particularly organic food producers, with the ultimate goal of reducing poverty. This is a goal not only shared by all the agencies of the UN Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity, but also incorporated in our mandates.

Creating stronger links between organic food producers and the tourism industry will do more than simply increase the profits of the small enterprises and farmers in the area surrounding Arusha and in the Dar es Salaam coastal area. It will also anchor companies and local suppliers into sustainable business relationships that strengthen the business climate and create the types of virtuous cycles that can help countries move up the value chain over the medium term.

Complexity, coordination and synergies characterize this project, but its special features go far beyond this level, and deserve to be noted here.

The most important feature refers to national ownership. In recent years, the word "ownership" has become an elevated and loaded word in the vocabulary of development assistance. We pay much lip service to "ownership," but its practical implementation is often lacking, as it easier for agencies, donors and even recipients to passively replicate business-as-usual practices and one-size-fits all prescriptions in their project plans.

Here, I am very proud of what this project shows. I can confidently say that all the national stakeholders that share a role and an interest in this operation were involved in the conception and design of this project since the beginning, with no predetermined model in mind. The objectives of the project have been discussed and defined here in Tanzania (not in Geneva or Vienna, at the headquarters of our agencies). The guidance of the Government and and the real needs of the beneficiaries led the process along the way.

As was mentioned by the distinguished Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, this project was conceived as a component and an instrument of the Tanzania Trade Integration Strategy. It also directly contributes to the Sustainable Industrial Development Policy, the Small and Medium Enterprise Policy, and the Export Development Strategy of Tanzania.

From UNCTAD's point of view, value chains are an opportunity that must be carefully harnessed to ensure long-term structural transformation. As a cornerstone of development strategies, the potential role of value chains for national entrepreneurs is now well understood. It is an issue at the top of the trade and investment agendas of many countries, both developed and developing. To achieve successful integration into global and regional value chains is one of the main instruments for reaping benefits from globalization. Taking advantage of value chains can be, and should be, instrumental in increasing competitiveness of small enterprises, in facilitating access to technology, and in generating new income and employment.

But here, again, it is easier to produce good literature and research on the role of value chains than in providing concrete, tailored assistance, at the ground level, to the small producers of a given sector in their search for better and larger markets. The abstract notion of value chains has to be translated into specific actions that change the daily life and production patterns of small entrepreneurs. The policies that advocate for the inclusion of national producers in macro processes have to be implemented at the micro level, through customized and sustained actions aimed at inserting the local producers at the right place and time in the chain.

As was mentioned in the presentations, this means that several players, all represented in this room today, have to act together at various stages of the project:

  • on the one hand, the Governmental Ministries and entities concerned by tourism, horticulture, support to small producers, environmental goals, and the private sector representatives of the tourism and horticulture industries.

  • on the other hand, four UN implementing agencies (UNIDO, ILO; ITC, and UNCTAD), supported by UNOPS acting as administrative agent, each one of them bringing their own expertise in a coordinated fashion in view of adding value and impact to their own individual tasks.

The interagency approach used in the conception, the design and the implementation of this project deserves particular recognition, as well. What is innovative here is not only the fact that four UN implementing agencies join efforts to deliver common objectives in a coordinated fashion. This kind of interagency cooperation is still, unfortunately, rare within the UN system, because agencies are not equipped to merge donors' resources for joint programmes.

In this project, what is really innovative is that SECO, the national stakeholders and the UN Cluster worked as a team to ensure that each agency's individual expertise could be articulated with the others'. The result of this fully integrated approach is more than a juxtaposition of individual actions : it is a fusion of visions, targets and instruments at all the stages of the project.

Tanzania is a "One UN" country that voluntarily adopted an integrated approach in the formulation of the UN assistance to the country. This project is an exemplary expression of the One UN spirit, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to launch it today in this ceremony.

A key UNCTAD message on development strategy has always been "policy coherence". We have observed this coherence across all domains of the different UN agencies' expertise: coherence between ILO's work on fair employment and responsible tourism, UNIDO's work on enhancing agro-processors and improving standards of enterprises, ITC's work on the productivity of horticulture, and UNCTAD's work on identifying business linkages, improving the business climate and upgrading the producers of organic horticulture.

This policy coherence is even embedded in the name of UNCTAD : the "T" of trade is linked to the "D" of development. Our mandate is precisely the interface between the broad agendas of trade and development - and how to ensure that this interface contributes to reduce poverty.

At UNCTAD, we are also convinced that this poverty reduction happens when small producers' needs are directly addressed by generating new income opportunities, providing access to new technologies and competitive standards, and creating new job opportunities. I look forward to seeing this project do just that, as it is implemented.

Thank you.


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