By Nigar Guliyeva – Trend:
Uzbekistan will introduce more environmentally and socially responsible cultivation of cotton, meeting the world standard “Better Cotton”.
The project is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, with the financial support of the Hungarian EXIM Bank. The presentation of the project took place within the framework of the 13th International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair Oct. 24.
The goal of the project, designed for 2017-2022, is to increase the efficiency of cotton production by implementing the best world practices and minimize the risk of using forced labor in the cotton sector. The estimated cost of the project in the form of investments from IFC is $5 million, the Uzbek media reported.
In the first phase covering 2017-2018, IFC is implementing a pilot program – development and testing of a system of standards for sustainable cotton production based on the “Better Cotton” standards in Fergana (3 cotton plants and 6 farms) and Zhizak (2 cotton plants and 4 farms) areas.
After successful testing, the system will cover 3,000 farms and agribusinesses that produce cotton in these areas.
In 2019-2022, it is planned to expand the application of the system of standards throughout Uzbekistan.
The “Better Cotton” standard does not imply the use of manual labor in the cotton harvesting, so cotton bush should be fully adapted to the machine collection.
By 2020, the capacity of Uzbek enterprises will ensure the full processing of domestic cotton, which can lead to a significant decrease in the cotton export volume.
“In accordance with the program on development of the textile industry of Uzbekistan, by 2020 the capacity of enterprises will allow to ensure full processing of cotton produced in the republic,” said Ilkhom Khaidarov, chairman of board at Uzbekengilsanoat JSC.
Head of IFC consulting services in industry, agribusiness and services, Tatyana Lozanskaya, for her part, noted that support for sustainable development of the private sector is a strategic objective of IFC.
“Our project on the development of the cotton sector in Uzbekistan will accelerate the transformation processes in Uzbekistan aimed at increasing the role of the private sector in the country’s economy. The introduction of best practices in the production of cotton will also provide an opportunity to increase the global competitiveness of Uzbek cotton and textile products.”
Uzbekistan ranks sixth in the world in terms of cotton fiber production and the fifth in its exports. The country yearly grows about 3,500 tons of raw cotton and produces 1.1 million tons of cotton fiber.