On 21 November the Technical Assistance component of the EU funded Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Project (ECTAP) held its closing event in Dushanbe after five successful years. Testimonies of beneficiaries illustrated impressively ECTAP’s efforts to modernize and diversify the agricultural sector in Tajikistan. This has been achieved by enhancing Tajik agri-food value chains and the competitiveness of agri-food enterprises and the quality of their products.
As pointed out by the EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Marilyn Josefson, "Modernization, diversification and social inclusion remain key pillars of EU support to rural development, in which we are investing EUR 100 million during the period 2014-2020 in Tajikistan. Supporting the development of the private sector, especially in agribusiness is one of the key priorities for the EU and ECTAP has made a significant contribution in this respect".
More than 10,000 farmers have benefited from the technical assistance support through the adopted “Test, Train and Transfer” approach, under which customized trainings in modern farming technology, such as drip irrigation, plant protection and orchard management, were delivered. To test high yield fodder crops and modern genetics, the project established demonstration farms and organized field days sharing innovative farming practices. Moreover, the local Agricultural Extension Service Providers (AES) were supported to better serve their 20,000+ clients.
ECTAP placed a special focus on smallholders and female beneficiaries and following the “farm to fork” method, supported production, processing, quality testing and branding in the beef & dairy, poultry, goats as well as fruits & vegetables sectors. ECTAP played a crucial role in linking agribusinesses and smallholders to potential buyers as well as to suppliers of agricultural machinery and inputs.
On ECTAP’s support Borzorali Odina from Kulyab Milk Factory says: “ECTAP has supported me to not only upgrade my business strategy to become more competitive but it has also helped me to increase the business for the company. This has tremendously contributed to higher quality dairy products being available to Tajik customers.”
To promote farmers’ access to finance, ECTAP built the capacities of local finance institutions and helped develop new lending products better suited for the agricultural sector. Here, ECTAP worked hand in hand with the EBRD, which continues to provide credit lines to local financial institutions for on-lending to eligible farmers, agribusinesses and extension services. The EU adds its own funding in form of grants to the EBRD loans, making access to finance more affordable.
Three interactive International Agribusiness Investment Fora have been organized with the Government of Tajikistan, mobilizing more than 750 international and local agribusinesses and agricultural suppliers to present state of the art appliances and facilitating access to advanced markets. Moreover, ECTAP also organized four study tours to Europe and Uzbekistan, which exposed participants to modern farming and agribusiness best practices.
ECTAP was developed and funded by the European Union in close partnership with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and has been implemented in a consortium led by the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.
Building on the extensive experience on the ECTAP and the EBRD’s pilot CLIMADAPT, the EBRD’s financing pillar will continue. For local financial institutions it is transformed into a follow-up Facility, Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF), to increase access to finance and enhance competitiveness agricultural value chains with high performing technologies.
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