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A strategy for the development of agriculture until 2030 put forward for general discussion

14.09.2019

Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- Revision of the role of the state in the agribusiness economy, abandonment of the practice of state orders for cotton and wheat, as well as a significant reduction in the powers of local government bodies in land use issues.

This is not a complete list of the currently relevant transformations identified in the draft Strategy for the Development of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2020-2030. The development of the Strategy, initiated by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan, was attended by experts from the World Bank, Delegations of the European Union and other international organizations, as well as specialists from relevant ministries of the republic. All this was told to journalists by the Minister of Agriculture Jamshid Khodjaev at an informal briefing on the Strategy.

In general, the Strategy for the Development of Agriculture for 2020-2030 identified 9 strategic priorities for the development of agriculture: Ensuring food security of the population; Creating a favorable agribusiness climate and value chains; Reducing the role of the state and increasing investment attractiveness; Ensuring the rational use of natural resources and environmental protection; Development of modern public administration systems; Diversification of government spending in support of the sector; Development of the system of agricultural science, education, information and consulting services; Rural development; Development of a reliable system of industry statistics.

“Just think: we all have about four million hectares of agricultural land, and we must decide how to properly manage them so that these lands remain fertile, do not degrade and can provide the country’s population in the future,” said Minister of Agriculture Jamshid Khojaev at a meeting with reporters. - We call on everyone who is interested in the development of the agricultural sector, has a vision and confident experience in this direction, to take an active part in the discussion and further development of the points of the Strategy. The document touches on many pressing issues that so far concern all industry participants, from dekhkans to large export-oriented enterprises. "We took a relatively short period of 10 years to carry out the reforms outlined in the Strategy, but we are sure that these changes will be key and will truly reveal the opportunities and prospects for the powerful economic and strategic development of the industry."

The document is posted on the portal for discussion of draft regulatory documents of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

FARMERS ARE ABLE TO GROW CULTURAL FAVORABLE FOR YOURSELF

The strategy provides a plan for phasing out state control of the processes of production, sale and processing of cotton and wheat, as well as promoting the diversification of all agricultural production. Non-strategic state enterprises in the sphere of providing material and technical resources, services and product processing will be transferred for privatization.

“The main position of the Strategy, supported by the country’s leadership, is aimed at deregulating the sector, which will provide farmers, producers and agro-industrial enterprises with complete freedom in the choice of crops and markets,” commented Jamshid Khojaev. –But we are talking about a phased transition through the introduction of mechanisms that promote the growth of industry productivity, since over the years many farms and infrastructure have been completely reoriented to certain crops, and the state has dealt with sales issues. That is, farmers in the new conditions need to completely rethink their approach to agriculture, land use and market conditions. ”

In 2020, the Strategy envisages the creation of an intervention fund in the grain market. In 2021, a transition to market pricing for all crops is planned, as well as the abolition of state procurement of cotton and wheat with the transition to the purchase of cotton by clusters and wheat solely to maintain the intervention fund.

THE RIGHT TO USE AGRICULTURAL LANDS WILL BE DEFINED

The purpose of the Strategy is to transform the sector, to promote the accelerated and productive implementation of advanced technologies, intensify production, and also make the country one of the leaders in the efficiency and degree of innovation in the agricultural sector. At the same time, the Strategy is aimed at rethinking the very role of the state as a source of services, ready to help farmers and enterprises to implement this transformation by providing better access to the knowledge, information and resources necessary for prosperity in the face of global competition.

“The Strategy raises such an important topic as land use right,” said Minister Jamshid Khojaev. “For many years, farmers did not have confidence in how long they could use the land provided to them. From here came a rather consumeristic attitude of farmers and farmers to land. Often, issues of land use rights were decided at the khokimiyat level. The Strategy proposes to introduce transparent mechanisms for the provision of agricultural land through open online auctions. At the same time, it will be possible to withdraw the right to use land solely on the basis of a court decision, and the participation of khokims in these matters will not be allowed. Such guaranteed protection of land use rights will allow changing the attitude of people to the land itself, its potential. All this will encourage farmers, farmers and clusters to invest in increasing its fertility, motivating the careful use of water resources and avoiding soil degradation.

The Strategy speaks of the importance of introducing a “first refusal” mechanism, according to which land plots are first offered to neighboring landowners who may be interested in expanding farmland and have enough capacity and experience. And only in case of their refusal will the land be exposed to other potential buyers through online auctions. Within the framework of the Strategy, it is supposed to increase the maximum land area for dekhkan farms for the implementation of specific business projects.

“It is also planned to introduce a mechanism for subleasing and transferring land use lease rights, and by 2013 it is planned to revise the system for determining the cadastral value of agricultural land, the taxation system and prepare the basis for the development of the secondary market and using long-term lease rights as collateral,” added Jamshid Khojaev .

THE STATE WILL INCREASE FINANCING FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENTIFIC POTENTIAL IN AGRICULTURE

Within the framework of the Strategy, it is planned to develop and introduce new tools of state support for agricultural development, in particular, increase funding for programs to increase the productivity of agricultural sub-sectors, increase land fertility, introduce water-saving technologies and develop science.

“Today, producers have limited access to basic resources, such as improved varieties of seeds, many of the local plant species have low yields and are poorly adapted to the requirements of foreign markets,” said the Minister of Agriculture. - According to the Strategy, the state will increase funding for the development of the education system, reforming and modernizing research centers and institutes, introducing information and consulting support, and much more. It is planned to create a National Gene Bank by international standards and improve the system for protecting the rights of plant originators. ”

The strategy also provides for the transition to a digital agri-food system, which will allow the collection, comparison and dissemination of reliable statistical data and market information.

CROP INSURANCE MECHANISMS WILL BE STRENGTHENED

One of the main points of the strategy is focused on the development of targeted sub-sectors of horticulture, in which the Republic of Uzbekistan has tangible competitive advantages. An important emphasis is on assisting participants in the agro-industrial sector to create integrated value chains, which will contribute to the development and prosperity of existing and new producers and agricultural enterprises.

“In order to create a favorable climate for the development of value chains and increase the export of agricultural products from 2.3 in 2018 to US$20 billion by 2030, as well as expand the geography of exports, the Strategy provides for strengthening crop insurance mechanisms, including for through the implementation of warehouse certificates, to reform the national system in accordance with the SPS Agreement of the WTO and the protection of animal health in accordance with international standards of the International Epizootic Bureau, tsya to the International Convention on Plant Protection (IPPC), "- stressed the Minister.

It is also planned to improve the registration system of pesticides and the maximum permissible levels of pesticides, as well as commission a unified systematic network of agrology centers, introduce a unified trading system (auctions and exchanges) on its basis and create a special laboratory for testing genetically modified crops and plant varieties (GMOs) )

ECOLOGY, NATURAL RESOURCES AND FOOD SECURITY WILL NOT REMAIN WITHOUT ATTENTION

The World Resources Institute predicts that by 2040, Uzbekistan will become one of the 33 countries with the largest water shortages. Along with this, there is a need in the country for the modernization of existing and construction of new irrigation systems. In the country, 70 percent of irrigation networks do not have antifiltration coverage, as a result of which part of the water is lost at the delivery stage. Currently, losses in providing agriculture with irrigation water are estimated at 40 percent.

“The Strategy pays special attention to the social aspect, food security, as well as environmental issues and the rational use of natural resources. Today it is impossible to talk about the prospects of the agricultural sector without these important components, ”says Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan Jamshid Khojaev. - The Strategy defines the objective of increasing the coverage of water-saving technologies for the total area of ​​agricultural land from 5% in 2018 to 40% in 2030. To this end, it is expected that in the near future the adoption of the Water Development Concept for 2020-2030 and the development of a management strategy water resources and the development of the irrigation sector. ”

The Strategy for the Development of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2020-2030 focuses on the need for the introduction of a unified state statistical reporting of groundwater consumers, the development of additional mechanisms to support domestic producers and buyers of water-saving technologies, and the promotion of vertical and underground land reclamation technologies and soil salinity monitoring systems.

According to the Strategy, in 2021 it is planned to launch pilot PPP projects in irrigation and land reclamation.

“It is understood that the direct interest of farmers in the efficiency and productivity of the irrigation system and the reduction of water losses will help restore infrastructure by reducing operating costs from the state budget,” explains Jamshid Khojaev. - Since 2022, it is also proposed to introduce a system of payment for water supply services in agriculture. Now water is materially depreciated, and this often generates a negligent attitude to water consumption issues, leads to water overruns, and as a result to many other problems, such as salinization, soil mineralization, its partial or complete degradation. Moreover, it is important to think ahead, about the future, what such irrational approaches can lead to in the conditions of our arid climate and limited water resources. ”

Following the meeting, the Director of the Center for Economic Development Yuli Yusupov expressed confidence that the country is interested in implementing this Strategy.

“Without this, we have no future, agriculture is a key sector of our economy,” said Yuli Yusupov. - The document, in my opinion, is truly revolutionary from two points of view: the format of the document itself, and the measures that are outlined in it. This is the first of those strategic development projects that is truly a strategy and is systemic in nature. You cannot solve any one problem if there is a complex of problems that are interconnected. Soil degradation and irrational use of water, the land we use for non-profit crops ... Until we solve the problem of government attempts to manage all this using non-market management methods, we cannot solve these issues. The strategy points out key issues. This is its revolutionism.

MONITORING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGY

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Uzbekistan will collect and analyze all incoming comments, comments and suggestions on the draft document. According to the results, a press conference is planned on the issues of the draft Strategy and the proposed measures in the framework of its implementation.

“After the adoption of the Strategy, the specially created Coordination Council will be tracking the progress of its implementation, which will include the involved heads of ministries and departments. As part of the implementation of the Strategy, “road maps” will be adopted annually, which will provide an opportunity to establish effective interaction both at the interdepartmental level and with partner organizations,” the minister explained.

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