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Thursday, January 18, 2018

World Bank to finance agricultural project to strengthen economic activities in Tajikistan

The World Bank announced on Wednesday that it has signed an agreement to finance the Tajikistan Agriculture Commercialization Project to strengthen property rights and associated agricultural activities in the country.

According to a World Bank press release, the project is supported by both the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and is funded by a $22 million grant from the International Development Association. It aims to solidify property rights, restructure farm ownership and provide farmers the freedom to decide what crops to produce.

"Farmers currently lack options to bring their products to market, reducing their income and overall economic development in Tajikistan," Marsha McGraw Olive, the World Bank country manager for Tajikistan, said. "This project will expand opportunities for farmers by introducing modern marketing methods and commercial practices that add value to agricultural products. As small farmers become successful businesses, they will be able to create jobs and contribute to economic prosperity."

Agriculture plays a major role in economic growth and poverty reduction in Tajikistan, accounting for 23 percent of GDP and 48 percent of employment.

"In Tajikistan, most private businesses are small farmers and helping them secure access to markets, and sustainable income is central to reducing extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity," Christopher Miller, the IFC Tajikistan country officer, said. "Through this project, IFC will focus on increasing farmers' access to finance through supporting financial sector to introduce new products and services unique to agri-financing. We will also work with supply chain aggregators to help them provide better services to farmers and foster private investments in agri-processing."

The World Bank's overall portfolio in Tajikistan is worth approximately $220 million, while the IFC's investment portfolio amounts to nearly $54 million.