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The Inter-American Development Bank’s (IADB) Multilateral Investment Fund has approved a US$1.5mn grant to the Fundacin Fortalecer of Argentina to provide support services to small rural producers that will include the design and implementation of business strategies for international markets.

The project will benefit 500 producers and small-and medium-sized agro-industrial companies in the Argentine regions of Cuyo, Northeast, Northwest and the Pampas .

The programme will coordinate the action with providers of non-financial services and with the public sector to implement a sustainable facilitation system to foster access to international trade. It will allow producers, individually or associated, and agro-industrial enterprises with less than 100 employees to conform to technical market standards and to form a network to promote the elimination of trade barriers.

Activities will include entrepreneurial awareness, designing of an access plan for new exporters, new markets and products, assisted marketing services and support to a public-private dialogue, as well as the creation of an information network, commercial assistance and other electronic services. 

In addition to a central unit, for better attention to the producers there will be regional windows for assisted marketing in Villa Mar, province of Crdoba; Paran, Entre R í­os; Rosario, Santa Fe; and Chilecito, La Rioja.

Fundacin Fortalecer, a foundation of the Argentine Agrarian Federation, a farming association with more than 100,000 members, will contribute US$1mn in counterpart resources to the project.

During the 1996-2001 period, Fundacin Fortalecer completed its first programme of services for the small rural producer with a US$3mn grant from the MIF.

The Multilateral Investment Fund is an autonomous fund administered by the IADB that promotes development of the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean with investments and grants.