WFP and Japan partner to empower women farmers in Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK (TCA) — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Embassy of Japan in Kyrgyzstan on September 20 participated in a ceremony to provide equipment to support food-processing businesses and rural women’s entrepreneurship across seven rural communities in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The food processing equipment is part of a US $490,000 contribution from Japan to economically empower over 2,000 vulnerable rural households, primarily women. The contribution aims to enhance agricultural knowledge and skills, boost small businesses, and protect agricultural livelihoods for rural women, the WFP and the Japanese Embassy said in a joint news release.

“Empowered women benefit societies throughout the world,” said Japan Ambassador Yoshihiro Yamamura. “We are proud to join forces with WFP to invest in women who can be a driving force for national prosperity in the Kyrgyz Republic.”

At the ceremony, Ambassador Yamamura stated that women’s empowerment is fundamental to local economic development, and highlighted this project as part of Japan’s international efforts towards creating ‘A Society Where Women Shine.’

The donated equipment will support communities to produce fresh juices, jams, pickles as well as dried fruits and vegetables – all on commercial scale.

“This crucial funding from Japan has enabled us to launch community-based food-processing businesses that will support the rural economy by creating jobs and increasing incomes of women food producers in the Kyrgyz Republic,” said WFP Kyrgyz Republic Country Director Ram Saravanamuttu.

Through support of local authorities, users of the equipment will be able to establish and operate enterprises to process agricultural produce and provide food-processing services to other farmers. These businesses will help rural women to secure stable incomes and generate additional tax revenues for local communities. The revenue generated through lease of the equipment will also be used for purchase of additional equipment for local communities.

Through funding from Japan, WFP has also provided training on food processing, food safety requirements (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point), financial management, and value chain development to support business capacity development and boost women farmers’ incomes. Japanese contributions have also supported WFP efforts to link women farmers with buyers of agricultural produce.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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