TASHKENT (TCA) â€” The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is launching a new program in Uzbekistan in order to help cotton farmers improve their production efficiency, safeguard the environment, and improve labor practices. This program is part of an effort by IFC to accelerate Uzbekistanâ€™s economic growth by modernizing one of the country's most important industries, IFC said on March 3.
The program will help farmers to improve the quality and productivity of cotton production through the implementation of responsible cotton production principles. IFC will begin by introducing sustainable production practices and a continuous improvement system at 12 farms in the Fergana and Jizzakh regions as a pilot project. After the trial run, the program will be expanded to 3,000 farms before ultimately being rolled out nationwide.
"Cotton from Uzbekistan has been recognized in international markets for its good quality," said Moazzam Mekan, IFC Regional Manager for Central Asia. "By introducing sustainable cotton production principles, IFC will help to address concerns over the risk of forced labor, supporting investments in the sector and allowing producers to access valuable export markets. This will help to modernize the agriculture sector, create jobs and strengthen economic growth across the country."
To roll out the project, IFC will partner with the holding company Uzpakhtasanoatexport, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Association of Farmers, the Federation of Trade Unions, and the International Labor Organization, and IFCâ€™s investee client, Indorama Kokand Textile.
The project will be implemented with financial support provided by Hungarian EXIM Bank, IFC's long-term donor partner.
Uzbekistan became a member of IFC in 1993. Since 1996, IFC has invested $144.7 million in Uzbekistan, including $12.9 million in mobilized funds, to support 28 private sector projects in the financial, agribusiness, and food processing sectors. In addition, IFC has supported $34.1 million in foreign trade in Uzbekistan through its Global Trade Finance Program. As of June 30, 2016, IFCâ€™s committed portfolio in Uzbekistan stood at $50.7 million with investments in the financial and manufacturing sectors.