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World Bank launches new phase of horticulture development project in regions of Uzbekistan
Central Asia | business | 13:12, 31 August 2018 | 793

AKIPRESS.COM - Ferghana and Bukhara regions hosted launch events of the Additional Financing to Horticulture Development Project. Under the new phase of the project farmers and agribusinesses from across the country will continue to receive the technical and financial support, leading to the creation of thousands of new and better-paying jobs, increase productivity and profitability of beneficiaries from the horticulture sector. The project worth of US$ 500 million was approved by the World Bank in January 2018 and became effective in June 2018, World Bank reports.

The new phase of the project will build upon the success of the original Horticulture Development Project approved in June 2014. It aimed at improving access local farmers and agribusinesses to agricultural technologies, knowledge, and markets; strengthening these groups’ technical and managerial capacity in the farming and agri-business sectors, and; introducing new financial products through local banks participating in the project.

The new phase of the project will support the purchase of seeds and seedlings, water-saving irrigation technologies (such as drip irrigation), cold storage facilities, and processing equipment. Additionally, it will provide support to research institutes on new horticulture production techniques, storage methods, post-harvest handling, marketing and business management knowledge.

On August 28-29, 2018, the World Bank (WB) Country Office, the European Union (EU) Delegation (that is a project partner) and the Rural Restructuring Agency (RRA) paid working visits to Ferghana and Bukhara regions. They participated in the launch events of the Additional Financing – Horticulture Development Project involving households, farmers, farmer groups, private enterprises, agro-firms, and agro-processing enterprises operating in the horticulture sector in these regions, as well as officials of local commercial banks participating in the distribution of loans under the project. The event participants were informed about opportunities provided under the new phase of the project to increase the horticulture sector’s productivity and exports.

During the launch events, farmers and agri-firms’ representatives, who had received loans under the initial phase of the project, shared their experience in expanding their businesses and exports thanks to these investments. The World Bank and the RRA specialists explained the event participants eligibility criteria for potential project beneficiaries, the application process for getting loans provided under the project and how to increase the profitability of businesses in the horticulture sector.

In Ferghana and Bukhara Regions, the WB, the EU, and the RRA officials had a chance to visit a number of beneficiaries, who received financial support under the initial phase of the project for producing packaging materials for horticultural products, delivering services of cold storages to local farmers, and building greenhouses for growing vegetables. Thanks to participation in the initial phase of the project, they could increase their productivity, profitability, and exports.

“Agriculture remains important for the domestic economy, taking into consideration that it is generating about 16 percent of GDP and creating jobs for nearly 14.5 million people residing in rural areas. Hence, this sector and rural development are at the heart of the transformation underway in Uzbekistan and the shift to horticulture is a big part of the Government’s investment strategy,” said Hideki Mori, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan at the launch event in Ferghana city on August 28, 2018. “Uzbekistan recognizes the need for diversification of agricultural production from cotton into higher value-added production and processing, including fruits and vegetables and livestock, which will lead to better-paid jobs in rural areas, food security, and exports.”

In Uzbekistan, the World Bank is supporting the implementation of 18 projects, totaling over US$ 3.3 billion. These projects contribute to macroeconomic reforms implementation, the improvement of agriculture and water resources management, energy, transport, healthcare, education, urban development, water supply and sanitation services, which support the country’s economic growth and higher living standards.

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