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Uzbekistan investing to increase agricultural production and processing capacity
Uzbekistan will be growing various fruit and vegetable crops year-round for the first time, it was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Zoyir Mirzaev at the 2nd international fruit and vegetable fair, reports Sputnik Uzbekistan.
According to him, this is due to the country's plans to increase the volume of exports of fruits and vegetables, as well as to increase the supply of fruits and vegetables to the domestic market.
"At the initiative of the President, we have re-planted some types of fruits in more than one million hectares of land this year, of which more than 40% are legumes, and this year, in October, we are going to plant other types of crops in the southern regions of our republic, mainly potatoes, carrots, beetroots, etc. This is a first for Uzbekistan, and of course, it is a risk for us, but now we are monitoring and collecting the opinions of our specialists and scientists. For the time being, the forecasts are good," stated Mirzaev.
He also stated that Uzbekistan currently grows about 20 million tonnes of fruit and vegetable products annually. Of these, more than one million tonnes are exported. At the same time, the number of destinations is increasing from year to year, and at the moment the republic has export links with more than 80 countries around the world.
"Over the years, we have had some experiences which have showed that we must continue to work on improving the quality and processing of our products, as sometimes these products have failed to meet the global standards. Taking all this into account, we must tap into the existing potential in the field of agriculture," added the Minister.
One of the ways to achieve this goal, as the official emphasised, was the decision of the President of Uzbekistan to increase the processing capacity of fruit and vegetable products by 2.5 times in the 2017-2018 campaign.
Moreover, there are plans to give a boost to the construction of refrigeration equipment. The head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources noted that this should improve the country's capacity to significantly extend the shelf-life of perishable products.
Another solution, aimed at increasing the production of fresh vegetables and fruits in the country, is to grow them hydroponically; that is, in an artificial environment without soil. According to Mirzaev, in the next year alone, Uzbekistan plans to build 352 hectares of greenhouses using this method. Moreover, the necessary technologies will be imported from South Korea, Iran and Japan. "We aim to find out which technology is the most competitive and the most optimal in terms of price and quality," the minister concluded.
It is worth recalling that the main importers of Uzbek fruit today are Russia and Kazakhstan. According to experts, shipments to Russia alone account for about 60% of the total exports. Uzbek companies, together with their Russian partners, created six trading houses on the territory of the Russian Federation that specialise in selling fruits and vegetables, bypassing intermediary structures. In addition, this year Uzbekistan launched a new unified brand (UzAgro) for the export of all fruit and vegetable products grown in the republic.
Publication date: 9/7/2017
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