As part of the Ready to Trade project, 13 beneficiary companies have received marketing assistance in different areas.
Despite the economic challenges of 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the latest conflict in Nagorno Karabakh, a number of sectors in Armenia’s food-processing industry reported export growth in Q12020. For example, exports of dried fruits and vegetables jumped 59%, to 300 tonnes, compared to 188.6 t in Q1 2019. The exports of canned food rose 18% to a total of 10,517 t from 8,859 t. The marketing strategy and capacity of Armenian companies are key to promoting local products abroad. Since 2017, the Ready to Trade project has been contributing to improving this marketing capacity. The project is being implemented by the International Trade Centre and is supported by the European Union under its EU4Business initiative.
Under the Ready to Trade project, 13 beneficiary companies have received marketing assistance in different areas: developing internationally competitive branding and packaging, setting up modern websites with e-commerce features, and using Social Media marketing support.
“Despite the challenges of 2020, exports of our dried fruits did not go down,” notes Lukashin Agricultural Association Director Vardges Davtyan. “We even managed to enter new markets, exporting organic dried fruit to the UK, and ended the year with strong growth. Thanks to the Ready to Trade project, we will soon have a new website with e-commerce features. It will help us to connect with international partners and increase sales volumes.”
Davtyan says that knowing the competitive advantages of local products and presenting these the right way is vital for exports. For example, dried Sateni apricots contain less sugar, which makes them safer for diabetics and more competitive on the international market. It was due to this competitive advantage that Lukashin Agricultural Association was able to export large quantities of dried apricots to the United Kingdom.
“The economic difficulties of 2020 led to a drop in our sales and revenues,” admits Armine Asiryan, Deputy Director of Ar Phyto Pharm. “The marketing support we got from the Ready to Trade project was very opportune in this situation. Soon, we expect to have new premium-class packaging for our new line of herbal teas with original packaging and design solutions.”
Reindert Dekkert, an international expert at the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) working with the project describes digital trade shows and digital marketing campaigns as the most effective tools for overcoming the challenges of 2020. Dekkert is providing marketing advice to a number of local SMEs in the food-processing sector.
“A winning pricing strategy, certificates, compelling branding, reliable supply chains, and effective customer communication are essential for boosting exports to international markets,” says Dekkert. “Customer-friendly and sustainable packaging that enhances the product’s shelf life is also key to ensuring competitiveness and success.”
The marketing assistance provided as part of the Ready to Trade project helps companies in the food-processing sector to strengthen their positions in existing export markets and to enter new ones.