The Agricultural Linkages Plus (AgLinksPlus) Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan (MAWR), held its final close-out event in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on February 19, 2015. The close-out event shared the successful results this project achieved in providing assistance to the fruit horticulture sector in the past three years.
AgLinksPlus implemented activities over three horticultural seasons (2012-2014) and increased agricultural productivity, market access, and incomes in 26 districts in six provinces of Uzbekistan (Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Ferghana, Andijan and Namangan).
AgLinksPlus worked from “farm to fork,” and improved competitiveness for businesses working throughout the table grapes, stone (cherry, apricot, plum, peach) pome (apple, pear, quinces) and subtropical fruits (persimmon, pomegranate) value chains. The project disseminated advanced technology to increase productivity through a combination of training, exchange visits, limited capital investment and demonstration sites.
Approximately fifty people took part in the event, including representatives from MAWR, the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan, the international donor community and project partners from both the public and private sectors. Private sector participants included fruit tree nurserymen, growers, cold storage owners and operators, processors, marketers and exporters. The opening remarks were delivered by the U.S. Ambassador Pamela Spratlen, and the MAWR Deputy Head of Complex of Economic Reforms in Rural Areas Muhammadjon Kasimov.
A mobile application entitled MEVA (“fruit” in Uzbek), for Mobile Extension Value Added, was presented as a tool that captures training materials developed during the project. It is and will continue to be available for all to download via Google Play as of February 27, 2015.
ALP partner Erkin Usmanhojaev summed up the event by stating: “I am grateful to USAID for its support. After attending ALP training programs I began implementing new orchard management techniques in my own orchards. The results were so remarkable that I began to receive requests from multiple neighbors, and even my relatives, about the new methods. I was motivated to open a new and now flourishing side business – a horticultural consulting company.”