In one of her last official acts, U.S. Ambassador Pamela Spratlen planted a walnut sapling on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent. The walnut tree comes to Uzbekistan by way of California, thanks to an agricultural project sponsored by the US Agency for International Development. In 2017 the USAID Agricultural Value Chain Activity assisted a local horticultural firm purchase and import Paradox walnut tree rootstock from a firm in California. This rootstock came from a 140 year-old walnut tree in northern California. So far, over 200,000 saplings have been produced from this rootstock and are scheduled to be planted on approximately 2,000 acres in Uzbekistan over the next couple of years.
These saplings are the result of several years of work and partnerships between U.S. and Uzbek companies facilitated by USAID’s Agricultural Value Chains (AVC) Activity. The project worked with companies in both countries to propagate these saplings using modern propagation techniques previously unavailable in Uzbekistan before the AVC Activity.
“This tree is symbolic in many ways. First, it demonstrates the bounty of Uzbekistan’s horticulture and the potential the country has to become the fruit and nut center of Central Asia. Second, with its California roots, nourished by Uzbek soil, rain and sunshine, it symbolizes the renewed partnership between our two countries. Finally, it demonstrates the Embassy’s continued effort to beautify our compound. With a lifespan of up to 35 years, this tree will be producing nuts long after most of us have completed our employment at the U.S. Embassy Tashkent. The long lifespan of this tree serves to remind us that our efforts today will have an impact for years to come,” Ambassador Spratlen remarked.