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Early October, Oxfam GB in Tajikistan conducted an official inauguration of the first enterprise cluster in Panjakent under the brand name ‘Zerafshan Fruits’. The enterprise cluster is a joint initiative between the Public organization “Ganji Zarafshon”, and the Union of Producer Groups of Panjakent comprised of over 800 farmers and private company OSC Agro-Techsnab with a Farmer-Private partnership (FPP) approach.
The enterprise centre has been set up under the ‘Enhancing Water and Natural Resources Management and Protection in upper catchments of Zarafshon Watershed’ project, funded by the European Union in Tajikistan, and implemented within the consortium led by Welthungerhilfe e.V. in partnership with Oxfam, CESVI, Innovations and Participation for Development (IPD) and AZAL. The ceremony was attended by government officials of Panjakent, private companies involved in fruit value chain in the country, local and international organizations, members of farmers’ organizations and project teams of the consortium.
The Farmers Association and the private companies are co-owners and co-investors of the enterprise, which will produce high quality dried apples with the target of countrywide sales and export. The company will directly benefit 800 plus farmers in the Association by improving their profitability and market access. This collaboration will equally benefit members of the Farmers Association in terms of higher profit margins, professional training, infrastructure support and funds to enhance their capacity, and the private company in terms of supply of raw material, processing within Zaravshan and building long term market linkages with potential buyers. The enterprise cluster plans to boost the overall business environment in Zaravshan valley by localizing most of the value adding processes to the region, creation of jobs, direct business linkages with higher market outlets / export, create market linkages between buyers and producers, improve the efficiency of transactions, and therefore benefit both of parties.