President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a videoconference meeting on November 5 to discuss advancement of horticulture and its export potential, including by the efficient use of household land.
Uzbekistan wields tremendous opportunities for fruit and vegetable cultivation and production. The organization of highly profitable intensive production in agriculture is important for the progressive increase in the well-being of the population.
Taking into account the need to fully utilize the existing potential and obtain a high income corresponding to these opportunities, agriculture is being dynamically reformed in our country in recent years.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev adopted a number of decrees and resolutions to improve the management system of horticultural and greenhouse farms, introduce effective government support mechanisms, establish cooperation in agriculture, boost the production of high-quality, competitive and export-oriented goods building on modern resource-saving technologies, accelerated development of the food industry.
Despite this, our country’s share in the world fruit and vegetable market, estimated at 200 billion US dollars, does not reach even a half percent.
At today’s meeting, the President pointed out that it is possible to swell the exports of fruits and vegetables to $ 2.5 billion next year and to $ 5 billion in the next three years.
As the head of our state noted, in order to further this goal, it is essential to properly select crops and species, multiply productivity and profitability at least two- to threefold, prevent squandering, suitably organize food storage, logistics and exports.
Today, cherries, apricots, plums, pomegranates, grapes, almonds, citrus fruits are in high demand in the world and they provide for the bulk of export earnings.
In Uzbekistan, there are not enough such plantations, especially of intensive type, orchards and vineyards have become unusable, and therefore their economic efficiency is very low. In a number of areas, thousands of hectares of old orchards have barely yielded crops for years. The cooperation system along the chain “procurement – purchase – storage and processing – export” has yet to be introduced.
Another shortcoming is pertinent with the weak role of wineries in the development of viticulture.
“Under the influence of such drawbacks, losses in the collection and storage of products in our country amount to at least 30 percent,” the President stressed. “That is, the crop disappears.
What new orchards and vineyards can be spoken of in such circumstances?”
Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that a number of areas after the optimization of cotton fields specialized in the harvesting of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, work in this direction hardly meets the requirements.
Due to weak research works in plant selection, Uzbekistan is forced to import seeds.
“The supply of mineral fertilizers and the control of pests and diseases are unsystematic, which complicates the work of the farmer and negatively affects the yield,” the President insisted.
In a word, there are still scores of unresolved issues in the sphere. Therefore, it is crucial to fully abandon the old, obsolete system and arrange a completely new continuous chain of production, that is, a system of cooperation and clusters. World experience has proven the effectiveness of this path; the introduction of clusters shows high results.
In this regard, the President pointed out the need to set up several large exporting clusters in Uzbekistan, increase incomes in agriculture, create a value chain, assign producers to an entrepreneur working with a specific market and a specific source of funding.
The task was set to specialize 55 districts across the country for the production of a certain type of export-oriented goods based on the Surkhandarya experience worked out jointly with foreign experts.
In addition, the head of our state placed personal responsibility on hokims of regions and districts for the proper placement of fruit and vegetable crops, the implementation of agro-technical measures and the delivery of harvested products to the exporter or processor.
The Ministry of Finance has been instructed to submit proposals regarding the promotion of the cultivation of export-oriented products based on the new system.
To ensure rural employment on the basis of newly organized cooperatives, plots of 1 to 5 hectares will be leased. 1 trillion soums will be allocated for creating new orchards and vineyards within the framework of the program “Every Family Entrepreneur”.
In order to ensure employment of low-income families, 31 model cooperation schemes are to be established in 22 districts of the Ferghana Valley regions. At least 50 unemployed citizens will be admitted into each cooperation project, with the assignment of unused lands, subsidies and soft loans.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev insisted that productivity be significantly boosted through the creation of new modern orchards of cherries, apricots, pomegranates, peaches, plums, walnuts and other fruits with the attraction of funds from international and local financial organizations. The President urged to elaborate and approve a target program for delivering export-oriented vineyards.
Uzbekistan’s leader noted the necessity of introducing a modern management system in the food and alcoholic beverages industries, of triggering production volumes, expanding the range and improving product quality with widespread use of marketing and innovative technologies, exploring new markets.
For the development of horticulture, the President said, what we need first and foremost is seedlings, and that we have a potential to harvest and export 20 million seedlings annually. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Agency for the Development of Horticulture and Greenhouse Management were tasked with organizing plantations – next year – of seedlings to grow apricot, cherries, peaches, table and wine grapes, pomegranates, walnuts and almonds. Shavkat Mirziyoyev instructed to set up in vitro laboratories in the regional divisions of the Mahmud Mirzayev Research Institute of Horticulture, Viticulture and Winemaking, with assistance from the World Bank.
The President maintained that farmers be subsidized to cover part of the cost of purchasing seedlings and stocks of intensive varieties, and abandon from 1 April 2020 to import and plant seedlings that lack health certificate.
To meet the needs of the country’s population and bolster exports, according to the head of our state, it is necessary to enhance production by 8-10 percent per annum and harvest more than 1 million tons of fruits and vegetables. In this regard, the Ministry of Agriculture, hokims of regions and districts were instructed to ensure the cultivation of food crops on 77 thousand hectares of lands (projected to be put into circulation in 2020) along with vegetable crops on 200 thousand hectares by the method of “ninety days”.
Another important issue is the chemical treatment of plants and pest control. Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized the need to open mineral fertilizer sales outlets in specialized districts and set up a system to provide relevant services to farmers and the public.
The President identified executives responsible for the effective delivery on the tasks set at the meeting.