The European Union and the Government of Uzbekistan signed today an agreement of EUR 21.5 million for the Horticulture Development Project, which aims to enhance the productivity and profitability of the horticulture sector in the country.
The Horticulture Development Project (EUR 21.5 million EU contribution) is part of a wider programme on Horticulture Development, which is co-financed by the Government of Uzbekistan and local beneficiaries (USD 69.3 million) and the World Bank (USD 150 million).
The EU has committed itself to supporting the reform agenda of the Government of Uzbekistan, aiming at transforming an economy based on cotton and its primary processing to an industrial and agro-industrial economy for both domestic and export reasons. The reform agenda aligns with the 2030 Agenda, by contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate General for International development and cooperation Stefano Manservisi said: "In the context of a changing climate, the EU welcomes this new agreement which will contribute to enhancing the productivity and profitability of the horticulture sector in the country, creating new job opportunities, facilitating the use of new technologies, and improving the quality of products to international standards. Looking forward, we believe that a closer partnership with Uzbekistan will bring new opportunities to improve business investments of both sides".
The horticulture sector in Uzbekistan is a priority for the Government, which is supporting the increased expansion of horticulture through greater direct technical and financial support. However, meeting the quality and food safety requirements of the more demanding export markets is still a challenge. Therefore, the EU funding will focus on Agricultural Support Services and will build upon three interrelated goals:
- Strengthen the capacity of participating research institutes and plant protection services to conduct research and genetic material multiplication activities;
- Support and enhance farmers’ access to modern and eco-technologies, information and markets;
- Improve Uzbekistan’s food safety management system while ensuring its regulatory harmonisation with international food safety requirements.
The EU support contributes to the progressive achievement to the eight Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), to "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all'", but also promotes progress towards the target to "Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors".