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AKIPRESS.COM - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved financing totaling $410.3 million for two projects in the agriculture sector of Uzbekistan: the Horticulture Development Project and the South Karakalpakstan Water Resources Management Improvement Project.
The two new projects will contribute to achieving the World Bank Group’s twin goals to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. They are part of the Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy for Uzbekistan for 2012-2015.
The Horticulture Development Project (IBRD loan of $150 million) will contribute to poverty reduction in Uzbekistan by assisting horticulture farmers, to increase their farms’ productivity and incomes. At the same time, the project will promote shared prosperity by supporting the growth and development of small and medium enterprises in the rural areas, creating more and better paying jobs in the agro-processing, trading and export sectors, and increasing the value added of the agricultural sector.
The project has three components: 1) Agricultural Support Services, 2) Access to Credit, and 3) Project Management, and will be implemented in eight regions of Uzbekistan.
The South Karakalpakstan Water Resources Management Improvement Project (IDA credit of $242.50 million and IBRD loan of $18.22 million) aims to restore irrigation and improve water management in a sustainable and financially efficient manner in one of the poorest areas in Uzbekistan.
The project will remove the current dependence of the farmers in the project area on energy-inefficient pumping by developing a gravity off-take from Tuyamuyun reservoir and dismantling all lower Amu Darya pumping stations currently serving the project area. It will strengthen institutions and capacities, and improve performance of public irrigation and drainage service delivery.
Both new projects will help the Government of Uzbekistan in its strategy to modernize agriculture in the country, including support for cotton harvest mechanization, promotion of agricultural diversification away from cotton by improving farmer access to new technologies, finance and markets, measures to mitigate state intervention in cotton production, and assistance for cotton certification to capture the premium on cotton that is produced in compliance with international labor standards.