DUSHANBE, October 26, 2011 – The potential for Tajik agricultural growth in the context of global food and agriculture trends was the topic of a seminar by World Bank international experts at the Agrarian University of Tajikistan today. Ms. Dina Umali Deininger, World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) Sector Manager for the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region, and Mr. Mark Cackler, Sector Manager for Global Programs in Agriculture and Rural Development, conducted an open dialogue with students, faculty, staff, management and other affiliates of the Agrarian University of Tajikistan. The purpose of this meeting was to review recent World Bank analysis and experience in the agricultural and rural development sector of the country in light of global trends, and to exchange views with the audience on key priorities for further progress.
The World Bank managers took a brief tour of the university campus and its scientific labs prior to the opening of the seminar. The University’s Vice Rector, Mr. Amonullo Salimov, and World Bank’s Tajikistan Country Office Manager, Ms. Marsha Olive chaired the seminar.
Mr. Mark Cackler provided an overview of recent agricultural developments in a global context. He stressed the fact that “75% of the world’s poor are rural and most are involved in farming. In the 21st century agriculture remains fundamental for poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. The World Bank has supported many successful agriculture and rural development operations aimed at reducing poverty around the globe, which could be considered in Tajikistan, as long as the local experts find them suitable.”
Ms. Dina Umali Deininger, in turn, outlined trends in the agricultural sector in Tajikistan, obstacles to more rapid growth, and opportunities to increase productivity and incomes and thus reduce rural poverty. “Poverty in Tajikistan remains a concern and agricultural development could help tackle this issue by means of raising rural income, thus reducing rural poverty, contributing to overall economic growth, enhancing food security and fostering social stability. Due to the limited amount of arable land in Tajikistan, it is essential for the country to increase and enhance its agricultural productivity, as well as strengthening farmers’ incentives to raise output,” said Ms. Dina Umali Deininger.
The meeting culminated with open discussion session, during which participants stressed the importance of agriculture as a tool for economic growth and poverty reduction in Tajikistan. Both Mr. Cackler and Ms. Umali Deininger responded that “there are various options for fostering growth and development, however agricultural and rural development still remains an essential engine for such progress around the world, and especially in the context of Tajikistan.”
Tajikistan’s active portfolio of the World Bank consists of 18 projects with net commitments of 228 million USD. The largest share of portfolio is in agriculture and rural development (34%), followed by energy and water (29%), education (16%), economic policy and public sector (14% incl. budget support), and health (8%).