The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture today launched a demonstration apple orchard at the Ministry’s Agroinnovation Center. The U.S. Charge d’Affairs ad interim in Uzbekistan Lesslie Viguerie joined Uzbek Ministry of Agriculture Head of Investments and Monitoring Department Abdumalik Namazov at the Launch Ceremony.
The Agroinnovation Center serves as a research and training hub for horticulture experts across Uzbekistan to share best practices in innovative approaches to production, storage and processing of fruits and vegetables. USAID, the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and Korea Rural Community Corporation cooperated to establish the center. USAID developed a 0.5 hectare demonstration apple orchard and provided high-yielding, high-value apple saplings such as Golden Delicious, Star Crimson, and Saltanat that have a high market demand.
In addition, USAID supported installation of an innovative intensive garden by equipping it with a drip irrigation system that includes fertigation, a trellis system and anti-hail UV protective nets. USAID has also trained the Center staff in regular monitoring of the garden and taking rapid measures to ensure better plant survival. Polyethylene netting with a shading coefficient of 75% reduces the risk of sunburn of the plants by ultraviolet light in the summer season. These nets will also provide protection against hail and birds and thus increase the harvest.
KOICA built a modern greenhouse covering 0.5 hectares including an innovative 16 kilowatt solar panel system that fully covers the electricity needs of the greenhouse. Korea Rural Community Corporation is currently constructing a modern cold storage facility with a capacity of 1,000 metric tons.
At the ceremony, U.S. Charge d’Affairs in Uzbekistan Lesslie Viguerie noted, “With its rich soil, temperate climate, and abundance of highly sought after fruits, vegetables and nuts, Uzbekistan has the potential to become Central Asia’s leading exporter of high value horticulture. Centers like the one we are visiting today are important because they create, test and demonstrate the skills and knowledge needed to add value to Uzbekistan’s high quality fruit and vegetables before they are sold.”