On Thursday, February 16, 2017, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Agricultural Value Chains (AVC) program, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan, convened a workshop on “Cold Storage in Horticulture: Current State and Perspectives in Uzbekistan.” U.S. Ambassador Pamela Spratlen provided opening remarks at the event, which brought together seventy cold store business representatives and over thirty representatives from government, the private sector, and international organizations to showcase the successful development of the Uzbekistan cold storage industry.
Cold storage, which slows down the deterioration of fruits and vegetables and increases the amount of time they can be stored before they are sold, helps farmers meet different consumer demands during the year and helps them get better prices at market. The growth of Uzbekistan’s cold storage industry was supported by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers #105 in April 2011, which helped to promote and strengthen cold storage capacity in the country through preferential taxes, a simplified customs regulations and access to finance, supported by international financial institutions.
Since 2011, USAID has supported this policy through numerous cold chain workshops, consultations, exchange visits, and national exchange programs for over 300 cold store owners. This support has helped entrepreneurs to increase incomes while assuring quality produce for consumers. In 2016, the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) recognized Uzbekistan as one of the global top twenty country markets for refrigerated warehouse capacity.
At the event, Richard Tracy, Director of International Programs at GCCA and an international expert on cold storage noted: “Uzbekistan has made remarkable progress in a short time and it is gratifying to see it among the top 20 countries for cold storage in the world. This not only gives consumers access to produce throughout the year, but allows farmers to sell their products in more distant markets for better prices. I look forward to seeing Uzbekistan join the top ten countries in the near future.”