Organized at the initiative of our country’s President Islam Karimov, the international conference “On Vital Reserves in the Realization of Food Program in Uzbekistan” took place June 6 at the Palace of Symposia in Tashkent.
The forum was attended by officials of eminent international organizations and financial institutions, including the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, as well as chiefs of diplomatic missions, leading experts and business people from more than 40 countries of the world, including United States of America, China, South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria and others.
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov addressed the conference with a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the international forum.
Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Jose Graziano da Silva noted that Uzbekistan is an enthusiastic participant of the global process in furthering the Millennium Development Goals and has been systematically implementing the objectives set before the nations of the world in 2000 at the Millennium Summit, in particular in the field of cementing food security where it has a tremendous production potential.
From the first days of independence, Uzbekistan chose its own way of development and of integrated and wide-ranging reforms in all spheres, directed at building a democratic state with a rule of law and a socially oriented market economy. In this regard, one of the principal directions in the socio-economic development of the country was to address issues in food supply, accessibility of foodstuffs in accordance with rational norms of healthy nutrition, along with the achievement of high quality and security of food products consumed by the population. Thus measures were taken in the country to accelerate economic reforms in agriculture built on the priority promotion of farming enterprises. The measures taken were aimed also at improving the production relations in rural areas, at introducing an organizational structure in the management of agricultural production that corresponds to market principles, consolidating the freedom of producers of agricultural goods and providing for their reliable legal protection.
The ground for the development of farmer movement in Uzbekistan was laid by the decree of the head of our state “On Further Consolidation of Dehkan (Farmer) Enterprises and State Support for Entrepreneurship in the Republic of Uzbekistan” signed 29 November 1991. The adopted Land Code, laws “On Framing Enterprise”, “On Dehkan Enterprise” and the one “On Guarantees of Freedom of Entrepreneurship” have shaped a robust normative foundation and system of guarantees for the development of farming, economic and financial independence of farmer enterprises.
Moreover, a complex of measures were taken to boost the economic and technical capacities of farming enterprises, optimize the land lots that helped secure a gradual growth in production volumes, effectiveness and profitability of farming enterprises. Currently, a modern production and market infrastructure has been formed and being perfected and that provides farming enterprises with a whole range of essential services.
A logical extension of reforming the agricultural sector of the country was the decree of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Measures to Further Refine the Arrangement of Activities and Develop Farming in Uzbekistan” inked 22 October 2012 that is dedicated to the elevation of effectiveness of farming enterprises, expansion of their rights and powers, reinforcement of the role in the rational use of land and water resources and in the creation of production capacities, the dynamic development and beautification of rural areas, provision for employment and growth in the wellbeing of the population. In accordance with this document, the Council of Farmers of Uzbekistan and councils of farmers in regions and districts were established to safeguard the rights and legitimate interests of farmers both in relations with government and management bodies, local government bodies, and with stocking, supplying and servicing organizations, as well as during cases in courts.
In excess of 73 thousand farming enterprises are operating currently in Uzbekistan, more than 28 thousand of which are diversified in their form and activities. Thus, farmers have become one of the major producers of agricultural goods.
“The agrarian complex has been dynamically advancing in Uzbekistan,” Dimitar Grekov, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry of Bulgaria, has suggested. “Modern equipment and technologies of reprocessing agricultural products have been introduced in the sphere, of which we have come to be convinced while visiting relevant facilities. The local food products are distinct with high taste properties and quality and modern packaging. I believe the cooperation in this sphere will be effective and mutually advantageous.”
As it was stressed during the conference, in the course of reforming the agricultural sector, a special emphasis was placed on its equipment with state-of-the-art, highly productive, locally manufactured specialized machinery and technological hardware that meets the world requirements and standards.
The new stage in the evolution of technological component of Uzbekistan’s agricultural complex was opened by the resolution of the head of our state “On Measures to Further Perfect the Management and Financial Rehabilitation of Enterprises of Agricultural Machine Building” penned 15 May 2014. In accordance with this document, a holding company, Uzagroprommashholding, is to be established. It is to unite the newly being created Tashkent and Chirchik plants of agricultural machinery as well as the modular factory, which are to manufacture modern types of mounted and trailer agricultural machines along with their components and spare parts.
A special significance was attached at the conference to Uzbekistan’s experience in bolstering the food industry. It was noted that the growth in the production of agricultural goods secures the high rates of development of enterprises in the food industry. Today, they number around 7 thousand across the country. They supply the domestic and foreign markets with quality food products. As a foundation for bolstering the activities of food industry enterprises for the nearest future is served by the Program of Measures to enhance and advance the food industry for 2012-2015 as well as the Program of Additional Measures to enhance reprocessing the agricultural crude, increase the volumes of production and expand the range of food products for 2012-2015.
Association of Food Industry Enterprises functions in Uzbekistan. Today it unites more than a hundred enterprises who supply the population with industrial goods, consumer goods, including vegetable oils, margarine, mayonnaise, sugar and other goods. At the same time, a part of produce is exported.
Currently, the Association is stepping up efforts to enhance the economic reforms in the sector, to expand the range of food products and saturate the domestic market with high quality goods of local production. This is facilitated by the realization of investment projects directed at the modernization, technical and technological renovation of production capacities. To date, this process has been fulfilled at major enterprises, thanks to which the production volumes in the food industry in the first quarter of the year grew by 6.2 percent vis-а-vis the similar period of the year 2013. Notably, a threefold growth has been secured in the confectionery production sector, while the increase in the food production was at 2.5 times.
The range of produced goods also has expanded considerably. Thus, oil and fat industry enterprises stock and process on average 95 thousand tons of oil crops a year such as soya, safflower, and sunflower. The range of bread and bakery goods has increased to a notable extent. Domestic enterprises produce currently more than 300 types of bread and bakery products. Remarkable are achievements also in the confectionery production. In excess of 1,300 tons of candies, waffles, caramel, marmalade, halvah and other sweets a year, and more than 70 types of dairy products, butter, cheese, yoghurt. In line with the Investment Program for 2013-2015, nearly 300 projects is intended to be implemented, envisaging the increase in the volume of produced fruit juices and jams.
Currently, an important challenge is faced by every manufacturer of food products, namely, the introduction of novel standards of quality and management of production, cutting-edge technologies, on which the enterprises depend in order to enter new levels of development, uplift the q and expand the range of produced goods. Apart from this, a great significance is increasingly attached also to the preparation of enterprises to the certification in new rules, retraining the personnel to work with modernized equipment, creation of special repair groups responsible for the state of machinery, and many other things. Currently, almost forty domestic enterprises have an international certificate of quality management ISO 9001. International system of management in food security ISO 22000 operates in a number of enterprises.
“Effective measures are taken in Uzbekistan to promote healthy lifestyle and wellbeing of the population,” Director of the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab has said. “Worthy of high appreciation is Uzbekistan’s participation in the realization of the Codex Alimentarius, a code of food international standards adopted by the International Commission of FAO/WHO, as well as the Health 2020 Strategy that is aimed at providing systemic support for production and ensuring safety of food products, the popularization of healthy lifestyle, commitment to social equality and justice.”
The conference has served as a platform for detailed discussion of measures taken in the country to saturate the domestic consumer market and steadfast provision of the population with fruits and vegetables, first of all in the winter-spring period, and the expansion of their supply for exports. The Uzulgurjisavdoinvest Association is tasked with wholesale procurement, storage and stable provision of population with fruits and vegetables in the country. Its objectives also include uninterrupted supply of trade networks in remote areas with food products of social significance.
57 regional wholesale trade bases and enterprises operate in the system of the Association, which have storehouses and chilling chambers for the storage of potatoes, carrots, onions, fruits, melons, meats, flour, vegetable oils, sugar, canned products and other types of foodstuffs. Constant reconstruction and modernization of storehouses, construction of modern freezing chambers are in progress in the nation.
Speaking at the general session of the conference, Vice President of the Asian Development Bank Wencai Zhang, the European Union’s Special Representative for Central Asia Janos Herman, Director of the Department for Agricultural Development of the Islamic Development Bank Demba Ba and others gave a high appraisal to the results of economic reforms in Uzbekistan, to effective measures taken to ensure food security, particularly owing to the cardinal reforms in agriculture and effective development of food industry.
Later, the conference continued in panel discussions. The issues deliberated on included the evolution of the global market of foodstuffs, cooperation with international financial institutions and investors in order to implement projects in the attraction of modern agro-technologies, the elevation of productivity of fruit and vegetable crops and grapes, the improvement of the systems of infrastructure and logistics, and other matters.
The international conference has brightly demonstrated that Uzbekistan has been taking all the necessary measures to step up the production of foods, draw foreign investments into the sphere, introduce high technological equipment, and boost the export potential. This allows for ensuring food security as a component part of socio-economic development, for creating all the needed conditions for a dynamic development of domestic agricultural industry complex that has an enormous production potential, and thus facilitating steadfast elevation of the wellbeing, stability and prosperity of the country.
A final document was approved to sum up the results of the conference.