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WB to carry out $150 worth project to support Uzbek agriculture

29 April 2015

The World Bank will implement in Uzbekistan a project worth $150 to support the country’s agriculture sector.

The World Bank and the Uzbek government signed in early April an agreement for a $150 million loan provided by the IBRD to finance a Horticulture Development Project in Uzbekistan.

The project has been designed in support of the government’s five-year Industrial Modernization and Infrastructure Development Program (2011-15) cross-cutting development priorities as enhancing the competitiveness of industries, such as agro-processing and diversifying the economy and thereby reducing its reliance on a few commodity exports, the World Bank said.

The bank said the project will contribute to poverty reduction in the country by assisting horticulture farmers, many of whom are small and comprise the poorest, to increase their farm productivity and incomes, and fostering greater and better rural jobs through: improving access to technologies, knowledge and markets; strengthening technical and managerial capacity in the farming and agri-business sectors; and introducing new financial products in the financial sector. These will bring sustained benefits to the project beneficiaries over the long-term.

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.

“Having more jobs and better paying jobs is critically important for the well-being of people living in the rural areas of Uzbekistan,” said Junghun Cho, the World Bank country manager for Uzbekistan.

He said the new Horticulture Development Project will help create much-needed jobs by improving access to technologies, knowledge and markets, strengthening technical and managerial capacity in the farming and agri-business sectors, and introducing new financial products in the financial sector.

The project has three components: agricultural support services, access to credit, and project management, and will be implemented in eight regions of Uzbekistan, namely Andijon, Jizzak, Ferghana, Kashkadarya, Karakalpakstan, Namangan, Samarkand, and Tashkent.

This is the first project in the World Bank Group portfolio in Uzbekistan where the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation will join efforts in implementing the project.

IFC will support local food producers and processors in implementing internationally recognized food safety solutions; help companies along the agribusiness value chain to improve their competitiveness and long-term value chain sustainability; and improve capacity building of commercial banks’ staff by promoting of all types of agricultural lending. It ensures access to markets for farmers-producers of supply chains.

The project will bring benefits to farmers, farmer groups, private enterprises, agro-firms, and agro-processing enterprises, involved in the country’s horticultural sub-sector.