BISHKEK (TCA) — New fruit drying and cold storage facilities have begun purchasing produce from farmers in and around Osh in south Kyrgyzstan. Together, the two fruit drying facilities will process over 1,000 tons of produce per year, while the storage facility can store up to 40 tons of apples. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with several farmers to set up the processing lines, whose high quality products meet the international standards needed to export agricultural good. These new facilities are expected to benefit over 2,000 local households who can sell their fruit harvest for storage or further processing, the US Embassy in Bishkek said on November 13.
Orjemil LLC’s new processing line has a capacity of 600 tons per year. The facility will process off-grade fruits like peaches, plums, cherries and other stone fruits that are not suitable for selling fresh in the market. The second producer of dried fruits, Advantex LLC, will use its new Uzgen facility to expand its production by 500 tons per year. In both cases, USAID’s support included upgrade of the facilities, installation of equipment, adoption of international quality control (HACCP) system and other technical assistance.
As part of its broader efforts to promote women entrepreneurship, USAID also partnered with local business woman Sabira Aidoshova to a launch cold storage facility. Her apple cold storage facility in Uzgen has a capacity of 160 cubic meters and will organize off-season sales of cleaned and graded apples, creating year-round demand for fruits grown by local farmers.
These lasting benefits to Osh farmers and consumers were made possible by the USAID Agro Horizon Project, a four-year program that aims to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes by improving productivity and expanding access to local and international markets. To date, USAID leveraged over $27 million of private capital with 49 partners to provide opportunities for import substitution and increased export potential of Kyrgyz agricultural products.