“In 2004, I felt that I could do more than being a housewife. I joined a women’s group and got encouraged by these hard working women. We were passionate about becoming entrepreneurs. As a group we received trainings in financial literacy and learned how to set up a successful loan request. In 2010, together with my peers we decided to found the NGO Sayour.”

Gavhar Hojaeva is a pioneering female farmer from Tajikistan and the Director of Sayour. The Tajik word Sayour means “being on the move”. Gavhar is cultivating fruits (cherries, apples, pears, plums) on 15 ha of land. Today, NGO Sayour has set up a training center where women can learn how to prepare juice, jam, canned fruits and vegetables and to bake bread. “Most of us are mothers so our members can take their kids to the center. The kids study Russian while we prepare juice. My main objective is to assist other women in opening a business. Only together we can grow.”

To further grow and diversify her business, Gavhar applied for a loan to buy her first livestock. She applied at local financial institution participating in the EU and EBRD funded “Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Project.” ECTAP aims at contributing to poverty reduction and economic growth and provides financial incentives to stimulate investments at farm and agribusiness level.

Gavhar grows the feed for her livestock herself on 5 ha of arable farming (wheat, barley, maize). “Our cattle keep us very busy and this new business venture is very attractive to women in my community because it creates additional income by selling milk and beef. I want be an example to other women in my community showing that it is possible to grow pedigree in Tajikistan”.