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Information digest 40

 

 

February 26, 2013

 

ECONOMY

Uzbek agriculture at the current stage of evolution

BUSINESS CLIMATE

Number of legal entities in Uzbekistan makes up 531,100 units

SOCIETY

Important factor in raising healthy generation

 

ECONOMY



Uzbek agriculture at the current stage of evolution

The economic map of the world constantly undergoes transformation. Yesterday’s exporters of raw materials play a tangible role in the market of finished goods today. Having shifted from a cotton monoculture to food independence in just a couple of decades, Uzbekistan is facing new challenges. The UT reporter found out what the country’s agricultural sector is ready to address them.

Experts have long been spotlighting the seriousness of the situation on ​​access to food for the population worldwide. Today the impending food shortages and a significant growth of food prices have somehow receded amidst the global economic crisis, though still relevant. Through various international organizations the countries seek for common mechanisms that would drastically change the situation in the sector. However, all agree about the only approach to this problem: an optimal introduction of intellectual cultivation, new agricultural technologies and effective processing industries.

Agriculture traditionally plays a significant role in the gross domestic product of Uzbekistan. Last year, the country's GDP exceeded 96.5 trillion soums (official exchange rate of 22.02.2013 $1=2015.76 UZS), including about 24.3 trillion soums from agriculture. Overall, the agricultural sector produced more than 3.46 million tons of cotton, 7.5 million tons of grain, more than 2 million tons of potatoes, and more than 9 million tons of vegetable and melon production.

One could hardly imagine such indexes two decades ago, when agriculture was dominated by the cotton monoculture. To date, Uzbekistan has managed to maximally diversify its agriculture. The country increases the grain crop production, exports many fruits and vegetables; a considerable part of poultry, lamb and beef is produced by up-to-date breeding complexes meeting international standards.

The integrated development of agriculture is the key to this progress. It is important to realize the scale of this system, which consists of both direct and indirect structures; a problem in one of them can affect the general outcome. Therefore, the country has initially practiced the development of separate programs that are directly interlinked with the development of a particular area, such as poultry or livestock farming. Meanwhile, programs of other related fields assign a big part to the agricultural sector. A simple example: agricultural products are perishable and require special care. Their delivery at standard condition to the consumer requires an appropriate transport infrastructure, special transportation means, and warehouses with freezers. Hence, many kilometers of rural roads are annually built in the country, new refrigeration capacities are launched, specialized trucks, trailers, cars and other hardware are manufactured. This just concerns the delivery of the final product. How much have the farmers to go through before they get their crops?

Another very important issue that comes into the picture relates to strengthening financial stability and economic substantiality of farms. Approved late last year, the Program of Measures for the Further Streamlining of the Legal Base of Development of Farming assigned a primary importance to this issue. It was preceded by a huge amount of work of hundreds of experts and professionals with an eye to the views and feedback of thousands of farmers from all over the country. It is worth to say that the developers of the document and the farmers themselves were well aware of the opportunity of great benefits and preferences for agricultural sector, but those mechanisms might remain only on paper without the proper application. It was therefore decided to establish a network of specialized consulting centers to assist the farmers with legal, economic, financial, agricultural, engineering, and other issues. Much attention is paid to the advanced training of farmers. Certified refresher courses for farmers have been opened under vocational colleges and higher education institutions of agricultural profile.

There are many farmers in Uzbekistan, who did not stop at just growing a few crops, but also have built cross-sector economies with processing of products, packing them and supplying to the stores, sometimes of their own brand network. To stimulate the development of cross-sector economies the new program envisages the development of proposals on provision of additional tax benefits.

A very active State Commission for Crops Variety Testing is responsible for testing the varieties bred in Uzbekistan and abroad, maintaining the state registry of the crops recommended for planting. Last year the Commission tested varieties of cotton, wheat, barley, corn, sunflower and other crops, included more than ten varieties in the state register, and 40 varieties - in the list of promising varieties.

Setting priorities

Meanwhile, there is no point to think that the domestic agricultural sector rests on our laurels: there is very much to do for the development of agricultural and industrial infrastructure, carry out projects in animal husbandry, fishery, development of seed and genetic base, expansion of exports. New times pose new challenges for farmers, which they will have to respond to quickly, or miss the opportune moment, and never get it again. Here it is worth to note that the farming support system, which was built in the early years of independence, effectively coordinated the development of the sector up to a certain moment. With the lapse of the time the Association of Farmers and its regional structures, unfortunately, failed to keep abreast of time and provided a low impact on the process of reformation and improvement of agricultural production, and solution of the farmers’ problems. This coincided with the time when the world was increasingly buzzing about the food crisis. Uzbekistan was challenged with taking drastic steps on intensification of the sector’s development. Consequently, councils of farmers of Uzbekistan were established across the republic. All sorts of meetings took place early this year in all regions of the country, where representatives of the new structure met with farmers and government officials, and talked on how to bring the sector to a new level. Time will show the results of the work, the more so all the concerned parties express the obvious willingness to cooperate for the further development.

Improved water supply and extended land reclamation will be of great importance for the further evolution of agriculture. A range of big projects have been carried out in the sector over the last years. Thus, reconstruction of Korakul pumping station worth over 2.3 billion soums was accomplished in Bukhoro region. This hydraulic station supplied by the Amu Korakul machine channel, plays a big role in increasing crop yields. However, it did not work at its full capacity, causing water supply problems in the summer, during the growing season. Therefore, to improve the situation, Uzbekistan signed and agreement with Zhong Yuan China IPPR International Engineering Corp. As the donations it delivered aggregates, equipment and spare parts valued at $7.3 million.  Reconstruction works increased the water supply capacity up to 45 cubic meters per second. A big project on rehabilitation of bulk irrigation network of the Toshsok channels worth $144.2 million was launched in Khorazm region earlier this year. It is scheduled for four years and intended to improve the guaranteed water supply to 192,000 hectares of crop fields. This year, the Irrigated Land Reclamation Fund plans to allocate a total of 131 billion soums for various works in all regions of the country.

The domestic chemical industry takes a special place in the development of the agrarian sector. Last year it produced over 1.2 thousand tons of mineral, nitrogen, phosphate and potash fertilizers. Here it is worth to note the importance of launching the Dehqonobod Potash Fertilizer Plant, which manufactures the products so necessary for farmers. Today it undergoes the second phase of the project on expansion of production capacity.

The banking sector also works on expansion of crediting for the agricultural sector with the priority of financial support to multifunctional farms involved in procurement and processing of agricultural products. Besides, there is the specialized Agrobank to finance projects in this field.

Establishment of modern storage facilities for agricultural products is another development trend. The works in this direction are empowered by the Program for Development and Strengthening of Logistical Base of Fruits and Vegetables Storage for 2011-2015. Under the program it is projected to build and reconstruct storage coolers for fruits and vegetables with a total capacity of over 120,000 tons. Chillers with a total capacity of about 49,000 tons will be upgraded. A total of 187 billion soums will be allocated for construction and reconstruction of coolers, and 31.9 billion soums for their upgrade. (Source: Uzbekistan Today).



BUSINESS CLIMATE



Number of legal entities in Uzbekistan makes up 531,100 units

Number of registered legal entities in Uzbekistan, according to Single State Registrar of Enterprises and Organizations, made up 531,100 units as of 1 January 2013, of which 498,500 or 93.9% of total registered enterprises are operating, the State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan said.

Largest enterprises and organizations (without farms) were registered in trade and catering (25.1% from total number of registered enterprises), agriculture (21.3%), industry (13.5%) and construction (7.3%).

Share of non-state enterprises in total number of registered enterprises was 92.6%, including farm and dehkan entities – 51.1%, private enterprises – 19.2%, enterprises with foreign capital – 0.9%, other enterprises – 21.4%.

In 2012, about 30,500 enterprises and organizations have been registered in Uzbekistan. Significant number of them fell to share of Tashkent city (19.6% of total registered enterprises in the reporting period), Tashkent region (9.5%), Samarkand region (8.8%), Kashkadarya region (8%) and Ferghana region (7.5%).

Largest number of newly registered enterprises was recorded in trade and catering (21.3% in total newly registered enterprises), agriculture (35.7%) and industry (17.9%).

In the reporting period, 22,400 enterprises and organizations were liquidated, including 7,000 on voluntary basis.

In the industrial structure, the largest share of enterprises was liquidated in agriculture (33.8%), trade and catering (18%) and industry (16%). (Source: UzDaily.com).



SOCIETY



Important factor in raising healthy generation

According to the World Health Organization, over 500,000 women die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. Improving the culture and quality of medical services to the public will help prevent this.

Extensive works carried out in our country, based on the concept of "Healthy mother - healthy child" aim for such an outcome. The Uzbek model of reproductive health has been recommended as the best regional program for Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is yet another international recognition of the effectiveness of the work carried out in our country in this direction.

In accordance with the resolutions of the President Islam Karimov "On additional measures to protect the health of a mother and a child, to form a healthy generation" dated 13 April 2009, and "On the program of measures to further strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of the works on improving reproductive health, birth of a healthy child, forming physically and spiritually developed generation in 2009-2013" dated July 1, 2009  a medical examination of adolescent girls and women of childbearing age are held once a year, detected diseases are timely treated.

In undertaking this work, a complex system that includes rural health centers, family health centers, centers for emergency care and specialized medical and scientific research centers play an important role.

In order to improve the performance in this direction,  a number of new medical institutions have been established. The Republican specialized scientific-practical medical center of obstetrics and gynecology and its 4 regional branches, the Republican perinatal and screening centers and their regional branches provide quality health services to women and promptly cure the complications that occur in mothers and children.

Provision of free multivitamins containing necessary elements for human body to pregnant women is proving effective. Each year, more than 400,000 pregnant women from rural areas are supplied with those remedies. As a result, extragenital diseases among women and mortality among mothers and children have decresed threefold during the years of independence.  Women's life expectancy rate has significantly increased.

The Republican Center of Reproductive Health and its regional branch carry out an enormous work on protecting and strengthening women’s health.

- Reproductive health is an important factor in determining the level of development of the society - says the director of the National Center for Reproductive Health, Professor Mahmuda Kattahojaeva. - Our ancestors through ancient times put great attention to this issue, and were deeply aware that a healthy generation is largely dependent on the health of women, future mothers. National foundations that have passed the test of time, have been developed under the leadership of President Islam Karimov in the years of independence.  Education of harmoniously developed generation is considered at the level of state policy in our country. That’s why reproductive health has drawn so much attention.

The regional branches of the Centre,  and district medical facilities opened offices of reproductive health.  Gynecologists, oncogenecologists, psychologists, pediatricians and other specialists are providing quality medical care to the public within this system.

Prevention of unwanted pregnancy is another main factor in protecting the health of reproductive-age women. Monitoring in cooperation with local health care centres is held. Each region is provided with means of modern contraception free of charge  in accordance with their needs. This gives a positive result in the extension of the interval between births, improving the health of mothers.

With a view of raising awareness of the public in this sphere, the meetings are organized at the local communities, educational insitutions and residential areas.  During these meetings, the qualified doctors talk about the factors that negatively influence reproductive health, the threat of alcoholism, smoking, drug use, HIV infection to human health and future generations, the family's role in addressing these problems. Thematic manuals, booklets and promotional materials are distributed among the general public.

The National Reproductive Health Centre conducts medical diagnosis and treatment of patients. At the same time, women are granted certain privileges. Free health care is available to all categories of the population, identified in the national legislation.

At present, the rural primary health care facilities have necessary conditions for the early detection and effective treatment of diseases that affect reproductive health. Medical staff at these facilities are constantly working on improving their knowledge and have undergone trainings.

The Republican Center for Reproductive Health employs thirty scientists and young researchers. One of the scientific studies carried out by this group is devoted to the study of the effectiveness of programs of provision of multivitamins to pregnant women, which is implemented in accordance with the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On additional measures to improve reproductive health of mothers and children in rural areas of the country" dated 22 July 2010.

To this end, scientific studies have been conducted in the Republic of Karakalpakstan, Khorezm, Bukhara, Surkhandarya and Tashkent regions that have demonstrated that rates of anemia and the negative effects of pregnancy and childbirth are greatly reduced among pregnant women who take multivitamins and newborns.

All of this is a result of effective works carried out in our  country to improve the health of women, increase their social activity, and further improve the lives of our people. (Source: UzA).

 

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