NEWS AND EVENTS
July 30, 2015
ECONOMY... Horticultural Produce to Go Far and Wide
Uzbekistan has been increasing exports of horticultural products to foreign countries. Over the last decade the exports have grown by 18 times by value, and from 400,000 tons to 700,000 tons by volume.
The credit for the progress goes to the increased production of major fruit crops by 1.6 times over during the past five years. For instance, in 2014, Uzbekistan produced 17.4 million tons of fruit and vegetables, or 579 kg per capita. 130 processing plants with the total capacity of over 475 thousand tons per year were established in 2004-2014, paving the way to the production of more than 145 new kinds of products. 20% of all irrigated agricultural lands are used for growing fruit and vegetables. The share of industry in the total agricultural production exceeds 41%, and 43.4% in the total export.
Yet at the dawn of independence, Uzbekistan clearly defined a strategy of agricultural development based on diversification, rejection of cotton monoculture, and self-sufficiency in food products. In subsequent years, the republic carried out phased reforms to reduce the cotton acreage and increase the cultivation of food crops, including cereals, vegetables, melons, and potatoes. As a result, the share of cereals in the total acreage increased from 25.7% in 1991 to 45% in 2014; potatoes, vegetables and melons - from 7% to 8.8%, while the share of industrial crops fell from 41.9% to 35.4%.
The outstripping horticulture and viticulture have made a significant contribution to providing the country\'s population with food. Over the past five years, the areas under vegetables, melons and potatoes have increased by 19%, and that of orchards and vineyards – by 11%.
Along with the optimization of acreage, Uzbekistan has carried out a large-scale work on the introduction of modern technologies and innovations in horticulture and viticulture, and creation of intensive orchards and vineyards. As part of this work, 36,800 hectares of new gardens, 35,300 hectares of vineyards, and more than 23,500 hectares (9% of the total area) of highly intensive orchards were created in the country over the past seven years using modern technologies of drip irrigation and other innovations.
“The cultivation of food and quality storage is equally important. 347 refrigerated warehouses with the total capacity of 231,800 tons have been built in the regions over the past five years, and 80 warehouses have been upgraded. That will allow us to keep the quality and freshness of food until the next harvest,” said an executive of the Ministry of Economy Utkirbek Sheraliyev.
(Source: «Uzbekistan Today» newspaper)