Tashkent, April 8, 2015 — Today the World Bank and the Government of Uzbekistan signed Loan Agreement for a US$150 million loan provided by the IBRD to finance the Horticulture Development Project.
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 Project will contribute to the World Bank twin goals to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. 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: (i) improving access to technologies, knowledge and markets; (ii) strengthening technical and managerial capacity in the farming and agri-business sectors; and (iii) 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, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan. “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: (i) Agricultural Support Services, (ii) Access to Credit, and (iii) 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 (IFC) 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.
Project will bring benefits to farmers, farmer groups, private enterprises, agro-firms, and agro-processing enterprises, involved in the country’s horticultural sub-sector. Participating financial institutions (PFIs) will also benefit through improved skills and acquisition of a more diverse menu of suitably adapted financial products; and the national network of private growers through training and technical assistance. The Project will also provide support in institutional strengthening of the State Research Institutes and the plant protection services.
Uzbekistan joined the World Bank in 1992. The World Bank’s mission in the country is to improve people’s livelihoods through being a partner in economic reforms, supporting the modernization of the country’s social sectors and infrastructure, and sharing its knowledge and experience with the government and the people of Uzbekistan. Current World Bank commitments to Uzbekistan amount to over US$1.6 billion.