Tashkent, Uzbekistan, March 03, 2017—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 Uzbekistan’s economic growth by modernizing
one of the country's most important industries.
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 IFC’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, IFC’s committed portfolio
in Uzbekistan stood at $50.7 million with investments in the financial
and manufacturing sectors.