National strategy for the promotion of agricultural exports is prepared
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On 13 March, a new regional project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was presented in Tashkent “Support in the preparation of national strategies to promote the export of selected agricultural products in Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan”. In Uzbekistan, the project is being implemented by FAO in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan.
Agricultural exports are a significant source of income for Uzbekistan, as well as for other countries in the region. Agriculture remains one of the sources of people’s income, and a developed agricultural sector is crucial for economic and social stability.
A significant increase in the export potential of the agricultural sector is designated as one of the priorities in the Strategy for the Development of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021. The new draft FAO Technical Cooperation Program aims to support the government’s efforts in preparing a national strategy to promote the export of selected agricultural products.
“We hope that this project on a systematic basis will assist in the formation of a national strategy for the development of exports of certain types of agricultural products, as well as make an integral contribution to achieving one of the goals in the field of agricultural policy of our republic,” said the first Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shukhrat Teshaev.
In recent years, the Ministry of Agriculture, together with FAO, has successfully implemented programs on organic agriculture, an integrated system of plant protection, resource-saving agriculture and seed production. The new project should contribute to the creation of effective mechanisms for the entry of agricultural products of Uzbekistan to foreign markets, he said.
Among the main issues to be resolved by Uzbekistan for the expansion of agricultural exports are transportation, logistics, storage and provision of high quality and product safety.
“Uzbekistan has no access to the sea, which leads to higher costs for transporting products to other countries,” said Dr. Sumitr Broca, senior policy advisor at the FAO Subregional Office for Central Asia. “Another issue is the development of the so-called cold chain during storage and transportation of products (storage, trucks and refrigerated wagons), because we are talking about perishable products.”
“Finally, when exporting to developed countries - Western Europe, China, Japan and others - you deal mainly with large supermarket chains that have very high requirements for quality, safety and the ability to track the origin of a product, for example, each individual melon - right down to the farm, ”he stressed.
The new project aims to support the government and the private sector in achieving the goals of increasing agricultural exports by analyzing potential export markets in terms of demand and regulating access to them (tariff and non-tariff barriers), as well as assessing production, the supply chain and export capacity. Following the analysis, a draft national export promotion strategy will be developed.
The project will focus on two selected products and three or four potential markets for each of them. Products will be selected based on the needs of the country and their potential to effectively engage small farmers.