Uzbekistan has tremendous potential in production of fruits and vegetables. The organization of highly profitable intensive types of production in agriculture is important for progressive increase in the wellbeing of the population.
Taking into account the need for fully utilizing the existing potential and obtaining a high income corresponding to these opportunities, agriculture has been dynamically reforming in the country in recent years.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev adopted a number of decrees and resolutions to improve the management system in horticultural and greenhouse farms, introduce effective state support mechanisms, establish cooperation in agriculture, increase production of high-quality, competitive and export-oriented products based on modern resource-saving technologies, accelerated development of the food industry.
Despite this, the share of Uzbekistan in the world fruit and vegetable market, estimated at 205 billion dollars, does not reach even one percent.
At today’s meeting, it was noted that it is possible to increase the export of fruits and vegetables to 2.5 billion dollars next year and to 5 billion dollars in the next three years.
As the Head of the state noted, in order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to properly select cultures and sports, at least two to three times increase productivity and profitability, prevent squandering, properly organize food storage, logistics and exports.
Today in the world cherries, apricots, plums, pomegranates, grapes, almonds, citrus fruits and other products are in high demand, they provide the bulk of export earnings.
At the meeting it was criticized that in Uzbekistan there are not enough such plantations, especially of an intensive type, orchards and vineyards have become unusable, and therefore their economic efficiency is very low, in a number of districts, thousands of hectares of old orchards have not yielded crops for years. The cooperation system “procurement – purchase – storage and processing – export” has not yet been introduced.
Another disadvantage is the weak role of wineries in development of viticulture.
– Under the influence of such problems, losses in the collection and storage of products in our country amount to at least 30 percent, – the President said. – That is, the grown crop disappears. What new orchards and vineyards can be discussed in such conditions?
It was noted that a number of areas after the optimization of cotton fields were specialized in harvesting fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, work in this direction does not meet the requirements.
Due to weak research work in selection, Uzbekistan has to import seeds.
“The supply of mineral fertilizers, pest and disease control are carried out haphazardly, which complicates the work of the farmer and negatively affects the yield”, said Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
In a word, many unresolved issues remain in the sphere. Therefore, it is necessary to completely abandon the obsolete old system and organize a completely new continuous chain of production, that is, a system of cooperatives and clusters. World experience has proven the effectiveness of this path – the introduction of clusters shows high results.
In this regard, the President noted the need for organizing several large exporting clusters in Uzbekistan, increasing incomes in agriculture, creating a value chain, assigning producers to an entrepreneur working with a specific market, and a specific source of financing.
The task was set to specialize 55 districts for production of a certain type of export-oriented products based on Surkhandarya experience, conducted jointly with foreign experts.
In addition, the personal responsibility of khokims of regions and districts for proper placement of fruit and vegetable crops, implementation of agro-technical measures, and delivery of harvested products to the exporter or processor was indicated.
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 employment of rural population 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 for low-income families, 31 model cooperatives will be organized in 22 districts of Ferghana valley. At least 50 unemployed citizens will be employed in each cooperative, unused lands, subsidies and soft loans will be allocated to them.
At the meeting, it was noted that productivity should be significantly increased through the creation of new modern orchards of cherries, apricots, pomegranates, peaches, plums, walnuts and other fruits with involvement of funds from international and local financial organizations. It was entrusted to approve the target program for creating export-oriented vineyards.
The need for introducing a modern management system in food industry and production of alcoholic beverages, a sharp increase in production volumes, expanding the range and improving product quality with widespread use of marketing and innovative technologies, the development of new markets was indicated.
The President noted that for development of horticulture, seedlings are needed first of all, there is the opportunity to harvest and export 20 million seedlings annually. The Ministry of Agriculture, the Agency for Development of Horticulture and Greenhouse Farming was tasked with organizing plantations next year to grow seedlings of apricot, cherries, peaches, table and wine grapes, pomegranates, walnuts, and almonds. An instruction was given on organization of in vitro laboratories in the regional sections of the Research Institute of Horticulture, Viticulture and Winemaking named after Mahmud Mirzayev at the expense of the World Bank.
The need was noted for subsidizing farmers to cover part of the cost for purchasing seedlings and stocks of intensive varieties, stopping the import and planting of seedlings that do not have a health certificate from April 1, 2020.
To meet the needs of the country’s population and increase exports, it is necessary to annually increase production by 8-10 percent and harvest more than 1 million tons of fruits and vegetables. In this regard, the Ministry of Agriculture, khokims of regions and districts were instructed to ensure planting of food crops on 77 thousand hectares, put into circulation in 2020, as well as vegetable crops by the method of “ninety days” on 200 thousand hectares.
Another important issue is the chemical treatment of plants and pest control. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized the need for opening mineral fertilizer sales outlets in specialized areas, and organizing a system of providing appropriate services to farmers and the public.
The leaders responsible for organizing the effective implementation of tasks set at the meeting were identified.