TASHKENT (TCA) — The launch ceremony of a new five-year project to develop the livestock sector in Uzbekistan took place on April 23. The project is jointly funded by the European Union (€15 million) and the World Bank ($150 million) and aims to address major problems in the livestock sector such as low productivity, insufficient value addition, limited access to finance and to market for smallholder farmers, poor coordination among various stakeholders and inefficient value chain management, lack of quality of animal health services, and meagre resources for research institutions, the Delegation of the European Union to Uzbekistan reported.
It was noted that in Uzbekistan, 90% of the livestock production relies on small farms holdings, most, if not all, smallholder farmers remain in a subsistence farming system characterized by low productivity, limited marketable surpluses and weak connection to markets and integration into higher value chains.
While farmers own less than 15% of arable land, their share of livestock production has gradually increased to more than 90% of output. They own 94% of cattle and 63% of poultry. Productivity is low and most small farmers hardly generate marketable surplus beyond household needs, while 4.7 million of smallholders rely on livestock to improve livelihood.
“This project aims to increase the efficiency of the livestock sector by increasing the number of small farmers participating in commercial value chains, increasing productivity and production, as well as ensuring sustainable incomes. I would also like to thank the Delegation of the European Union and the World Bank for their efforts to develop the sector, the continued support that is being rendered to the agricultural sector of Uzbekistan, which is highly appreciated by the Ministry and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan,” said the Minister of Agriculture of Uzbekistan Jamshid Khodjayev.
In addition, the project will disseminate global best practices, which will be supported by credit lines for farmers and economic operators of the value chain, available through commercial banks on preferential credit terms. Also, the project will contribute to the establishment of productive partnerships between participants in the value chain (producers, buyers, service providers through technical assistance grants, expansion services and additional investments.
“This project will be aimed at increasing the capacity of state economic agencies and supporting reforms of public services, research, knowledge dissemination and veterinary services, and the development of the value chain. In particular, the EU grant will help ensure access to finance for small producers, improve the productivity of small farmers and involve them in broader market participation,” said the head of the Delegation of the European Union to Uzbekistan Edward Stiprais.
World Bank loans will be used to support Veterinary Services and to finance working capital and investment in the livestock sector throughout the country.