Agriculture Production Development Workshop-Day of open house in Shahrituz

09.01.2019

Agriculture Production Development Workshop-Day of open house in Shahrituz

 January 9, 2019

In line with the Agriculture Reform Programme of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Government of Tajikistan has identified five key priorities for the agricultural sector, contributing to effective, rational and sustainable use of natural resources:

-        Development of the private sector throughout the entire agricultural production cycle (input supply, certification, mechanization, storage, marketing)

-        Development of cooperatives (to ensure economies of scale, improved quality and volumes of primary produce)

-        Institutional reform of the Ministry of Agriculture (shift from obsolete command planning to regulator, quality assurer and policy making functions)

-        Diversification of the sector (not only in terms of crops, oriented at premium export markets by means of intensification and extensification of the production, but also diversification of markets)

-        Access to finance (facilitating access of value chain actors to various alternative funding mechanisms, such as Public Private Partnership (PPP), Islamic banking, investments, cooperative bank services, grant schemes etc).

In order to ensure the implementation of afore said priorities it is a prerequisite to enhance the linkages among all actors of the value chain, including production related advisory services, financial tools and institutions, along with the consolidation of production patterns amongst farmers to make sure the primary production reaches the necessary volumes to ensure economy of scale.

With this in mind, MoA and ECTAP (within the framework of its technical assistance) have organized the recent workshop, conducted on the 25th of December 2018 in Shahrituz district. The key objectives of the event were to strengthen and disseminate knowledge and skills on modern orchards but also beef and dairy. Alongside presentations of the academia and MoA on sector development ECTAP’s beef and dairy manual was printed and distributed. Furthermore, representatives of Ministry of Agriculture, Tajik Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Tajik Agrarian University, Agralis, Nurpanel, agriculture  department of each district were invited to discuss with farmers their challenges and issues. 

The event hosted representatives of agricultural authorities and farmers from Shahrituz, Kabodiyon and Nosiri Khisrav districts as well as representatives of key buyers (Ecolog International, Metro Cash and Carry), extension services and leading input suppliers already cooperating with ECTAP (Sarob Cooperative, Association of Seed Producers of Tajikistan, UchKhoz/producer of dwarfed samplings).  In total 87 people attended the event.

Figure 1:         Picture of the opening ceremony

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In December 2014 the European Union (EU) has initiated the Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Project (ECTAP). The EU and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have launched EUR 47.6 million (~ USD 50 million) ECTAP to contribute to poverty reduction and economic growth through the enhancement of Tajik agri-food value-chains, agro-food enterprises and the quality and marketing of Tajik agricultural products. The project aims at enhancing the development of agricultural value chains in such Tajik agrisectors as dairy, fruits and vegetables by means of facilitation of access to new agricultural equipment and technologies and the access to finance, thus contributing to the poverty reduction in the country. 

1         Preliminary outcomes

The event was subdivided into three parts. The first was a practical and theoretic exchange used by farmers to discuss the possibilities to increase yield levels, potential marketing opportunities as well as responsible and sustainable production practices. The discussions were held between the farmers and ‘academia’.

Figure 2:         Opening words by Usmonkul Boturov, Key Expert 3 of  ECTAP

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The second part of the event was focused on enhancing the linkages/ matchmaking between the private companies listed above and the farming communities. The agribusinesses pitched the services and support they are offering to potential partners from the farming communities and they also outlined their requirements on terms of quantity and quality of products.

Figure 3:         Question and Answer session

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The third part was deploying the B2B approach, facilitating the discussions on the individual level between the farmers and the companies. Specific interest was expressed towards the input supply services of Sarob Cooperative, the list of demanded products by Ecolog International (which is currently searching for partners to source vegetables from: tomato, carrots, cabbage, onion, etc; fruit: grapes, apples, pears, lemons with the current initial demand of 20 tons per week, and increasing demand of 20 tons per day).

The overarching goal of linking farmers with suppliers, Agricultural Extension Services

(AES) and potential buyers in particular in the light of the up-coming agricultural season was

thus met successfully. The MoA has planned to organize additional 10 DODs to address the

needs of farmers in terms of best-practice knowledge, technology and technical support.

Figure 4:         Pitch of a farmer, seedling producer

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2         Next Steps

Based on this very positive cooperation it is suggested to in the future cooperate more closely: further activities could include the dissemination of best practices demonstrated by the Test, Train and Transfer activities deployed by ECTAP in particular for improved breeding through introduction of genetic materials from Europe (sexed semen, embryos). It can also include the dissemination of ECTAP training material on milk yield increase through an improved feeding ratio as well as the approaches and materials developed by ECTAP to intensify orchard productivity.

The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Agriculture Reform Secretariat recently established by the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and supported by the EU/FAO project, shall make sure that best practices and outcomes of the demonstration plots established and managed by ECTAP are sufficiently disseminated amongst farmers along with the information on the available credit/investment support tools.