EU ECTAP Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Project genetic initiative for cows: first successes


The EU ECTAP Project is playing a key role for the modernization and improvement of genetics of the Tajik livestock herd, with the ultimate aim to increase the productivity of the sector and improving genetic of cattle in the country. The project is on the one hand promoting new breeds well suited for the Tajik agro-climatic conditions, such as French mountainous mixed cows Tarentaise and Montbeliarde or Belgian Blue cows, used for so-called terminal cross-breeding to produce calves for meat purposes. On the other hand, EU ECTAP has been successfully piloting in Sughd, Khatlon and RRP two very innovative technologies, namely transplantation of embryos and sexed semen. Sexed semen technology is one of the newest reproductive technologies available: it refers to semen having X or Y chromosomes bearing sperm to produce offspring of a desired sex. This technology allows the farmer to produce the optimal proportion of males and females and thus grow their herds internally. Both technologies provide Tajik farmers with better breed at much lower costs (approximately only 20% of the costs it takes to import live cattle) and better adaptability to Tajik climate than purchasing pedigree cows from abroad.

For the first time in the history of independent Tajikistan, calves were born in April 2019 in three different farms through transfer of French Montbeliarde embryos in Tajik bearing cows. Back in 1989 this technology was tested with no success and was reintroduced in 2018 through the EU ECTAP Project. This technology allows Tajik farmers to obtain full French pedigree calves with Tajik immunity for a much lower price than through imports of live cattle.

The second technology tested successfully for the first time by EU ECTAP is the use of female sexed semen which allows making the best use for reproduction of the few high quality cows available in Tajikistan. Using sexed semen is economically important for farmers, as they can produce the optimal proportion of males and females and can thus grow their herds internally. It is planned to have at least 100 calves born with EU ECTAP support this year using this technology after the encouraging results in Sughd, Khatlon and RRP.

In 2018, within the framework of EU ECTAP project 50 embryos were imported from France to the Republic of Tajikistan, 200 doses of sexed semen, 1,200 doses of different types of Belgian sexed semen, 1300 doses of different types of Montbéliarde and 300 doses of sexed semen of highly productive producers of different breeds. The aim of the initiative is to assist farmers and households (specially female led farms and households) in improving the breeding qualities of animals, which can contribute to increasing their productivity with lower costs.

Cattle breeding plays a key role in Tajik agriculture, in particular due to large availability of mountain pastures. Meanwhile, consumption per capita of milk and meat remains much lower than in Soviet times and in neighbor countries but it is expected to boom in the near future thanks to increasing income of the population. To ensure food security for these products, it is of utmost importance to increase the productivity of the 2.3 million Tajik cows, whose milk output is only 820 l per year according to FAO, less than half the levels of Kirghizstan and Uzbekistan.

The EU ECTAP project is strategically involved in the improvement of beef and dairy in Tajikistan through EU grants to quality breeders that finance their investments by an investment loan from a financial institution and the introduction of innovative technologies and practices from the farmer to the final consumer. In the field of fodder and feed, and in partnership with leading international suppliers, EU ECTAP has successfully introduced new types of seeds and plants with very high yields. EU ECTAP is keeping on supporting farmers through innovation with fodder beets, new types of alfalfa, maize, soybeans, triticale, vetch and sainfoin. It is also introducing new and better machinery for fodder preparation.


In 2019, EU ECTAP will reinforce the technological bridge it has built in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Tajikistan to reconnect Tajikistan with most modern technologies. And in partnership with Tajik extension services, it will transfer the benefits of these technologies to a large number of smallholders, especially in remote mountainous areas.

In December 2014 the European Union (EU) has initiated the Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Project (ECTAP). The EU ECTAP’s overall objective is 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 further enhancing the development of agricultural value chains in such Tajik agrisectors as beef and dairy, fruits and vegetables, poultry, honey by means of facilitation of access to new agricultural equipment and technologies and access to finance. Further details can be found at the following e-mail address:

A project implemented in a consortium led by:  


Serena Office Complex, 14, Rudaki Avenue, 734013 Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Tel: (+992) 793 511 05 09

This project is funded by the European Union

Delegation of the European Union

To the Republic of Tajikistan

74 Adhamov Street

734013 Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan

Tel: (+992 37) 221 74 07, 227 10 24

Fax: (+992 37) 221 43 21

The European Union is made up of 28 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders. To this end the EU is active in Tajikistan since 1992 and provides approximately EUR 35 million annually in development assistance.