April 14, 2015
The progressive development of the domestic agricultural sector in the coming years is deemed unfeasible without breakthrough innovative solutions. The technological leap in the last two decades has allowed agricultural and food producers to drastically increase the production of vegetables, fruits, meat and a diversity of products made from them. Today, however, the sector is facing new challenges. Amidst the changing climate and water scarcity, changed geography of exports and tough competition, Uzbekistan has to streamline its development strategy, focusing not just on the introduction of cultivation and processing technologies, but also on building an effective interaction between all parties.
Every detail matters
A habit of counting every penny and evaluating the effectiveness of every step or action ranks among key features of a successful entrepreneur or manager. This is especially relevant in the agricultural sector, where unreasoned decisions and hasty conclusions may lead, for example, to crop damage or deterioration of finished products. Some 15 years ago it was a common thing for farmers to grow big volumes of fruits and vegetables, having no any modern fridge and storage facilities, or even an appropriate number of elementary containers. As a result, a significant part of products was lost. A new approach to the development of the domestic agricultural sector was intended to change the situation. All issues needed integrated solutions like subsidizing farmers and helping them with the delivery of fertilizers, fuels and lubricants, and building a closely interconnected system ‘from the field to a counter’.
Uzbekistan has done much to build supply chains, create new storage and refrigeration facilities, introduce modern mini-technologies and agricultural equipment, high-yielding varieties and more. As a result, last year alone, the volume of agricultural production increased by 6.9% and exceeded 36.9 trillion soums (currency rates of CB RU from 14.04.2015 1$= 2501.87 soums). A positive trend was demonstrated by crop production – 21.8 trillion soums (6.9 percent growth), and livestock – 15.1 trillion soums (7 percent growth).
UT has already reported on the progresses of the past and the path traversed by the country to achieve food self-sufficiency. In this issue, Uzbekistan Today spotlights breakthroughs and interesting initiatives that are expected to entail a new round of dynamic development of the domestic agricultural sector.
Technologies, equipment, innovations are the pillars of the agricultural sector, which can hardly bring any strategic benefit and tangible progress in the long term without the core fundamentals. Therefore, the Uzbek government has initiated the development of an integrated document that would cover all areas and sectors attributable to the development of the industry. The Agricultural Development Program for 2015-2019 has incorporated the projects that are vital for the survival of the domestic agricultural sector in the current realities.
In conditions of Uzbekistan, with its harsh continental climate and vast desert arrays, the task of providing farmers with the amount of water they need for crop production comes to the fore. Therefore, the ongoing measures on introduction of modern water-saving technologies, including expanded use of drip irrigation of orchards and vineyards, will remain a priority for the coming years. That would allow annual savings of up to one billion cubic meters of irrigation water. It is planned to concurrently continue the development of breeding and seed production with the focus on breeding new high-performance salt and drought-resistant varieties of cotton and grain crops.
The program has also settled the latest technologies of maintaining and improving soil fertility as a bedrock and guarantee of enhancing the efficiency of agricultural production. It is expected that this process will be secured by the program on land reclamation for 2013-2017, which provides for the construction and reconstruction of the complex of irrigation systems, and the installation of advanced energy-saving equipment. The program aims at ensuring amelioration of 1.4 million hectares of irrigated land and increase of crop yields within five years.
The dominance of cotton is another challenge of agricultural sector that was inherited from the old system. Over the past two decades, Uzbekistan has managed to not just overcome its monoculture, but apply unique solutions and create the world’s first technology of ‘gene knock-out’ for cotton, which allows significant improvement of fiber quality, its extension, increase of the yield and drought resistance. This, in turn, has significantly reduced the acreage of this crop, while increasing its productivity and fiber quality. The work will be continued in the coming years. It provides for the phased optimization of cotton areas through the replacement of withdrawn low-yield lands with potatoes and other vegetable crops, as well as the establishment of intensive orchards.
In furtherance of equipping agricultural producers with advanced domestically made appliances it is envisaged to establish the manufacture of up-to-date high-performance tractors, cotton pickers, combine harvesters and other machinery at Uzagroprommashholding Company in cooperation with Klaas, Lemken and other world’s leaders.
Quality Recycling Comes to Delicious Food
The Food Industry Association of Uzbekistan unites over 200 enterprises that specialize in processing and production of oil, confectionery, fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products. Experts say that in some areas the domestic producers have almost entirely provided the domestic market with quality and relatively inexpensive products like meat, sausage, dairy, confectionery and other stuff. The remaining share of imports is dominated by premium segments or the products that can not be produced in Uzbekistan in large amounts, like coffee or sunflower oil.
For instance, only 88 projects on agricultural product processing were implemented in 2012, while in 2014 their number increased by almost four times up to 340. Over the past three years Uzbekistan has launched the production of more than 400 new kinds of products. That helped to considerably reduce imports and increase exports of food products. Quality products produced in Uzbekistan are exported in more than 80 countries around the world. An increase in the share of the food industry in the total industrial output is seen as another proof of its successful development. In 2010 the index equaled to 12%, while to date it has exceeded 16%.
A scaled growth of industrial production rates has been underway at domestic enterprises in 2015, which is largely contributed by the introduction of up-to-date capacities. This year’s investment program envisages several promising initiatives, including large-scale projects on the establishment of the canned fruits production in Kitob, Asaka, Yangikurgon, Urgut and Bog’ot districts, meat and dairy products – in Parkent, Tailak, Kagan and Zangiota districts, confectionery – in Jizzakh, Kuva and Denau districts, fast food products – in Jizzakh and Yakkabog’ district.
In addition, the Association of Food Industries has planned to carry out 304 projects totaling $410 million in the next five years to provide storage and processing facilities for agricultural products based on sublimation, deep-freezing, vacuum packing and other technologies. For instance, the Fayzi Ramz Farm of Surkhandarya is getting prepared to launch sublimation processing of fruits and vegetables, a fast food factory will appear on the territory of Jizzakh Free Industrial Zone, a Siyob Sahovati foreign enterprise will launch meat processing facilities in the Samarkand region, the Euro Food Trade in Tashkent region has established a canned fish manufacture and deep processing of mushrooms. 165 projects will focus on the modernization of food industries across the country.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
State joint stock company Uzbekenergo will implement 13 investment projects for over US$3.2 billion in 2015-2019.
The projects will be implemented within the programme on ensuring structural reforms, modernization and diversification of production for 2015-2019.
The program was approved with the decree of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov from 4 March 2015.
In particular, the company will realize projects on modernization of existing and creation of modern capacities based on energy saving technologies and use of solar energy.
The projects will be financed due to foreign investment and loans for US$1.8 billion, loan of the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan – US$895 million and own resources of Uzbekenergo – US$504.5 million.
It is worth to mention that Uzbekenergo is planning to complete construction of solar power station with the capacity of 100 megawatt in Samarkand region. The cost of the project is US$275.8 million.
The Republic of Uzbekistan supports the agreements on the «Key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action» between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Group of Six of international mediators on the Iran’s Nuclear Program reached in Lausanne on April 2, 2015.
As the initiator of conclusion of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia, which became as an integral part of the global disarmament system, Uzbekistan firmly stands for a complete elimination of weapon of mass destruction and supports the efforts of the international community to comprehensively ensure the non-proliferation regime stipulated by the United Nations Charter and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Uzbekistan expects that the framework agreement will shape a solid foundation to reach a comprehensive agreement capable to significantly contribute into consolidating the international peace and security.
(Source: Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)
A competition of wisecrackers and humorists “Hush Kayfiyat” (Good Mood) was held in Uzbekistan for the first time. About three thousand young participants aged 18-30 had demonstrated their skills in three directions.
In 2014 UNESCO included the Uzbek art of wisecracking (askiya) into the Representative list of non-tangible cultural heritage of mankind. The “Good Spirit” competition was held for the purpose of preserving the gem of popular creativity and handing it down to a younger generation.
In the direction “Askiya” the jury was rather strict to competition participants and did not award the first place to anyone. The second place went to a group “In the twinkling of an eye” from Navoi, and the third place – to “Askiyachilar” from Andijon.
Sarvar Mamajonov of Andijon won in the direction “Anecdotes of Afandi”, Harshid Abdiyev of Samarqand and Ma’ruf Pardayev of Qashqadaryo region were second and third respectively. A group from Karakalpakstan was the best among humorists and parodists. Bekzod Oqbutayev of Tashkent and Bakhodir Majotov of Andijon were among the leaders in this direction.
The winners and laureates of the competition performed at the final concert with their best turns in the program, thus winning the hearts of the audience with their ability to approach with humor all possible adversities of life. The most memorable item must have been the performance of Qodirbek Abduqodirov, the youngest participant in the competition. Only his young age prevented him from competing for the prize-winning places.
The winners of the competition were awarded diplomas and presents, but the main prize for them was the smiles of the spectators and their applauses.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)
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