On September 5, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a videoconference on ensuring the price stability for basic food products and creating their reserve.
There are food shortages due to the climate change and drought in many regions. Moreover, the production and delivery of products are becoming more difficult because of the international situation.
The President has been paying attention to this issue for a long time and has set tasks in ensuring food security. At the beginning of this year, 80 thousand hectares of cotton and grain areas were reduced, they were allocated to the population for the cultivation of agricultural products. As a result, 785 thousand people were employed, 1 million 500 thousand tons of food products worth 3 trillion Uzbek soums were additionally prepared.
Continuing this work, the President decided to allocate another 20 thousand hectares of land for the population. An additional 100 thousand hectares of sown land will be distributed to the population on a competitive basis next year. Thanks to this, another 1,2 million people will be employed.
The demand for basic food products by the region, as well as the domestic opportunities, were analyzed at the meeting.
For example, the annual demand for potatoes in the country is 3 million 400 thousand tons. 20-25% of it is covered by the imports. In particular, Karakalpakstan lacks about 100 thousand tons of potatoes, Navoiy Region – 45 thousand tons, Jizzakh Region – 35 thousand tons of potatoes per year.
The annual demand for vegetable oil is 515 thousand tons, 46%of this volume is imported. The oil refineries are not operating at full capacity.
In general, the provision of 25 types of food products remains dependent on imports in the domestic market. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture has been tasked with preparing the projects, together with khokimiyats (governor’s offices), to establish the domestic production of these products.
An important factor is seasonal changes in food prices, caused by the lack of warehouses with freezers in 50 districts specializing in the agriculture. In general, today the available warehouse capacity is 1,5 million tons, which is less than 7% of the total volume of grown products. This directly affects the price dynamics.
Based on this, the khokims (governors) of the regions were instructed to increase the storage capacity in these 50 districts.
The Horticulture and Greenhouse Development Agency has been tasked with increasing the area for growing the food crops to 300 thousand hectares, rationally arranging crops based on the analysis of population demand and imports.
The President spoke via videoconference to the responsible officials, entrepreneurs and farmers. He supported the proposals of Kashkadarya and Fergana farmers to facilitate the access to finance. It was decided that from September 15, on the recommendation of assistants to khokims (governors), unsecured loans for up to 150 million Uzbek people shall be provided for seeds, fertilizers, fuels, lubricants, plant protection products and working capital for growing vegetables, legumes as well as oilseeds. It will also be allowed to give out half of these funds in cash. For these purposes, the Horticulture Agency shall be allocated an additional 300 billion Uzbek soums.
A new system of crediting fruit and vegetable growings shall also be introduced. Now the state will cover 50% of the cost of crop insurance for clusters and dekhkans (peasants) growing potatoes, vegetables and oilseeds. From now on, the insurance policy will act as collateral for a loan for growing the food products as in the case of cotton and grain. This innovation will facilitate the work of many farmers.
The abundance of production also depends on the quality of the seeds. Today it is necessary to harvest 300,000 tons of potato seeds, 6,000 tons of legume seeds and 11,000 tons of oilseeds annually in Uzbekistan.
We already have a positive experience in this sphere. For example, the entrepreneurs grow the elite potato seeds, yielding a crop of up to 450 centners in the Akdarya district of Samarkand Region.
The President noted the need for expanding this experience and implementing it in the cultivation of legumes and oilseeds, together with the private sector.
The instructions were given to create at least one intensive vegetable nursery in each region, to transfer all fertile lands to intensive cultivation.
At the meeting, the main attention was paid to the issue of maintaining the stability of prices for fruits and vegetables in the winter and spring months.
In order to expand the possibilities of storage and transportation of products, it is proposed to introduce the preferential loans for the purchase of trucks, sorting and packaging equipment.
The President has supported this proposal. It was noted that $140 million has been allocated to commercial banks for these purposes, as well as there is an opportunity to allocate another $330 million.
The importance of providing agro-leasing for trucks, as well as the benefits for greenhouse owners, was emphasized.
It was instructed to transform the activities of the JSC Agroleasing into a system that shall serve as a financial assistant to the farmers.
The issues of developing household plots were also discussed. The need for extending the lease of land for mobile freezers, assisting the population in protecting plants was noted.
The President criticized the cases of fraud in the sphere, warned the officials.
It was emphasized that their main task is to increase the food production, ensure the well-being of people, solve problems and provide assistance to farmers and dekhkans (peasants).