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Market study on plant propagation material in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is moving from an inward-oriented economic model towards a more open, integrated and export-driven economy. With the support of the EU, World Bank, FAO and Asian Development Bank, an agri-food development strategy for 2020–2030 was created by the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan and approved in late November 2019.

The strategy is aimed at developing an export-oriented horticultural value chain, improving the current output in terms of both quality and quantity and ensuring the efficient use of natural resources. The objective of this research was to identify possible obstacles to creating a transparent business environment in the seeds and plant propagation sector.

Research objectives
The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality is pleased to share its Market Study on Plant Propagation Material in Uzbekistan. The study was conducted through a combination of desk research and field research in Uzbekistan. The market research aimed at describing the structure, latest developments, trends and organization of the propagation sector in the three horticultural subsectors: vegetables, fruits and potato. Besides, it describes the governmental institutional structure, procedures, policies and legal framework and the sector’s governmental strategy. The research maps the institutional organizations, their projects and identifies opportunities for cooperation. SWOT and TOWS matrixes provide objective information of  the status in the three subsectors followed by recommendations in bilateral subsector cooperation, both business to business and knowledge transfer.

The findings of this report are supposed to be disseminated to the Dutch plant propagation business community and the Dutch institutional sector. A summary of the major findings and recommendations is also to be presented to the Uzbek Minister of Agriculture.

The outcome of this research is on the one hand a starting point for a better market entry for Uzbek and Dutch private companies in Uzbekistan, and on the other identification of measures recommended to be taken by the Uzbek authorities in order to remove possible obstacles and create a transparent business environment in the seeds and plant propagation sector. In the longer term, this research will contribute to the competitiveness of the Uzbek economy, and promote development of Uzbek potato, vegetable and fruit starting material and propagation sector.

Opportunities for Dutch starting material
Based on the research findings, it is expected that the demand for Dutch hybrid varieties will increase and that demand for local open pollinated varieties (except certain local traditional varieties) will further decrease. Government’s new agricultural 2020–2030 strategy will drive the demand towards higher yielding varieties, which can endure longer cropping cycles and have better disease resistance.

Clearly, the greenhouse sector will continue to grow, modernize and produce year-round crops for local and export markets. New greenhouse technologies, with soilless cultivation will require specific genetics, adapted to local conditions. Local varieties not being suitable, the import of high value varieties will continue to be the better solution. Investments in (Dutch) greenhouses, in drip irrigation systems and other modern technologies require yield improvements to maintain a positive return on investment. The export driven strategies of the Uzbek government will support the overall demand for hybrid varieties with better postharvest quality.

For outdoor crops, the transition into hybrid crops will continue to grow at par with the technology level. Investments in drip irrigation and improvements in fertigation and the demand for export quality will support the transition to hybrids seeds.

The demand for elite seed potatoes is expected to remain high in the next years and will increase each year with the growing population and the demand for processed potatoes in the country. High value varieties with higher yields and better disease resistances combined with Dutch potato technology under drip irrigation will improve efficient land-use and reduce the area under potatoes and could fuel the demand.

The opportunities for Dutch breeders in fruit sector are as follows:

  • Finding suitable rootstocks for Uzbek climate and soils and exporting them for affordable prices;
  • Opening or supporting local vitro labs in order to propagate rootstocks and saplings locally; train specialists who can manage these labs;
  • Market certified saplings with a warranty that proves its quality and will increase the interest in Dutch starting materials;
  • Establishing the Dutch version of demonstration orchard and nursery in regions where new orchards are being planted;
  • Look for private investment partners and offer turnkey solutions, incl. extension services.

Source: Agroberichten Buitenland.

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