EBRD and EU provided 46.5 million USD to support farmers in Tajikistan

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The EBRD and the EU have launched a new Euros 42 million (US$ 46.5 million) programmeto support farmers in Tajikistan.

In Tajikistan, agriculture accounts for the majority of employment but suffers from very low productivity. The new Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Programme (ECTAP) is designed to boost it.

According to EBRD operations in Tajikistan, the funds will be provided to selected microfinance institutions and commercial banks in Tajikistan for on-lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the agribusiness sector across the country, with 80 per cent of financing distributed outside of the capital, Dushanbe.

Director and Head of EBRD operations in Tajikistan, Richard Jones, said: With the right investments in processing, packaging and quality standards, Tajikistan's agricultural production has significant potential to expand, securing livelihoods and boosting exports. The new financing programme is the latest instrument the EBRD is deploying to support this potential, following on from a previous lending programme via local financial partners, business advisory services and direct financing to local entrepreneurs.

It should be noted that agriculture employs over 50 per cent of the workforce in Tajikistan, but accounts for only a quarter of GDP. The sector depends heavily on just a few crops � wheat, barley, onions and garlic. The new programme will also aim to help diversify agriculture in the country to include other fruit and vegetables, honey production, and the expansion of animal husbandry and dairy farming.

The first microfinance institution to receive a tranche under the new programme is Arvand.

Arvand, which has a large national network of dozens of branches and service outlets with a focus on the northern regions, is already focusing on agribusiness MSEs, which constitute over a third of their portfolio.

Shoira Sadykova, Arvand's General Director, said: I am sure that our experience and our strong, long-term partnerships with clients, as well as the fact that 60 per cent of our offices are in rural areas, will be key to the successful implementation of this programme.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan