Remarks (as delivered)
U.S. Ambassador Pamela L. Spratlen
USAID Agricultural Value Chains (AVC) Project Inauguration Ceremony
September, 15, 2016 10:00 a.m.
Mirzaev Horticulture Institute
Ассалом aлейкум, доброе утро, and Good morning to everyone! Especially to Dr. Kasimov, I want to thank you for your warm welcome and for everything you have done to bring us to this point today.
On February 13 of 2015 — it is hard to believe — we gathered together with our Uzbek partners here to inaugurate a state-of-the-art micro-propagation technology facility, known as the Tissue Culture Laboratory, at the Mirzaev Horticulture Institute. The overall objective of the Laboratory is to improve the quality of plants to increase horticultural production in Uzbekistan.
Today, we again celebrate here at Mirzaev the launch of a new agricultural project, as you have heard, called the Agricultural Value Chains. Today’s broad participation of farmers, business, and government exemplifies the strong partnerships we have forged across Uzbekistan in the twelve provinces and 33 districts where the project will operate.
Since 2008, USAID has partnered with Uzbekistan on horticultural sector projects through various projects. We are proud of our close coordination with the Government of Uzbekistan and our mutual efforts to strengthen horticultural practices, create better livelihoods, and meet international demands for the highest quality produce.
And I would like to associate myself with a very important point that Dr. Kasimov made in his remarks, and that is that this project is a logical continuation of our past work. And as a result of our past work, we have already witnessed letters of intent worth more than $300 million between Uzbek growers and international buyers of horticultural produce through business to business trade missions in Samarkand, and Fergana.
Furthermore, the United States welcomes Uzbekistan’s efforts to transform over 170,000 hectares of cotton over the next five years to produce higher value fruits and vegetables. Our Agriculture Value Chains project is well-positioned to support such ambitious agricultural transitions.
This five-year, $14 million program will improve the value chain along the horticultural sector by creating jobs, improving incomes, and increasing fruit yield and quality.
I would like to join Dr. Kasimov in thanking every entity inside of Uzbekistan that played a role in bringing us to this point today and I would especially like to thank DAI and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources for implementing the Agriculture Value Chains project in Uzbekistan. It is because of your enthusiasm, energy, and professionalism that the United States Government, through USAID, can continue to invest in Uzbekistan’s horticulture sector.
I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Uzbek horticulture than a grape variety contest that showcases the diversity, quality, and richness of produce that is a true national treasure – that is what you see before you. I wish the best of luck to all the competitors and may the best grapes win!
Удачи всем. Катта раҳмат. Спасибо.