The European Union has granted 142 trillion Uzbek soums (EUR 11 million) to the Uzbek government’s budget on 28 May 2021 for the support of the strategic reforms benefiting the agri-food sector and rural livelihoods in Uzbekistan, the Delegation of the European Union to Uzbekistan said on June 7.
his is a third such transfer since the first quarter of 2020 bringing the total of the EU grant budget support to 414 trillion UZS (EUR 32 million).
The disbursement of funds was accelerated last year in view of the Covid-19 pandemic to support the government efforts in sustaining the progress of key reforms and to support the resilience of the most vulnerable rural population.
It complements other projects of the EU and the EU Member States dedicated to the capacity building of institutions and engaging directly with the community of farmers, agri-businesses and the academia.
The Ambassador of the European Union to Uzbekistan, Ms Charlotte Adriaen highlighted that “The agriculture, food and textile industries employment potential is significant. It is not only key for women and youth, for creating decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods, but also for ensuring food security and creating respectful food systems. EU remains keen to accompany the government reforms, in particular for developing a more green and sustainable agricultural sector taking into consideration climate change. However, more focus is still needed to support the market inclusion and competitiveness of small-holder farmers, who comprise the majority of producers and deserve equal opportunities”.
Uzbekistan was granted the enhanced EU General System of Preferences (GSP+) for trade. If well used, the GSP+ system should support agrifood producers in benefitting from duty free access when exporting to the EU.
The EU grant budget support is a unique financing instrument, introduced in Uzbekistan for the first time in 2020. It is based on the agreement with the government of Uzbekistan to sustain a pace of reforms defined in the Uzbekistan Agri-food Development Strategy 2020-2030, and also to demonstrate progress in the implementation of reforms in the area of Public Finance Management, budget transparency, and effective measures for the macro-economic stability.
An important condition for the provision of the EU grant budget support globally is also an agreement with the Government to demonstrate commitment to the fundamental values of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
The European Union appreciates the strategic partnership with the Government of Uzbekistan, the Ministries of Agriculture and Finance in particular as well as with other institutions in the agri-food sector. A new initiative is planned to further support the eco-friendly and smart development of the agri-food sector and rural livelihoods. This European initiative will strengthen the coordinated engagement of the European Union, its Member States and the European Development Financing Institutions, such as the European Investment Bank, the French Development Agency (AFD), the German Development Bank (KfW) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.