Uzbekistan, a double land-locked country, located in Central Asia, has had one of the world’s best performing economies in recent years with economic growth averaging 8 per cent for the past ten years.
Uzbekistan has been going through major reforms aimed at building a more open and market-oriented economy. The new policy course encompasses an increased emphasis on the importance of the agricultural sector as a driver of an export oriented economy, and a focus on revitalizing rural areas and harnessing the productive potential of the dehkan (small-holder) farms.
With GDP per head of US$1,980 in 2017, Uzbekistan ranks as a low middle income country.
Of Uzbekistan’s 32.9 million people, 49.5 per cent live in rural areas as well as 75 per cent of the lower income population. Of these, almost two-thirds make their living from agriculture. Though rural poverty has gradually decreased, to 13.7 per cent in 2015, it remains above the regional average.
Agriculture generates about 17.5 per cent of GDP and employs some 15 million people, though many of them are under-employed.
Smallholder families face significant challenges, notably limited access to land and irrigation water. Lack of productive assets, good infrastructure, energy, modern technology and knowledge for coping with natural disasters and climate change challenges also underlie low rural productivity.
In Uzbekistan, IFAD loans work to enable sustainable income growth for rural people through viable small-scale agricultural production and rural enterprise systems.
Our country strategic opportunities programme (RB-COSOP) 2017-2022 for Uzbekistan aims to:
- improve rural people’s capacity and ability to benefit from high value agricultural systems;
- increase the productive assets and competitiveness of smaller-scale productive entities in rural areas to enhance their participation in markets; and
- enhance the ability of small-scale producers to make environmentally sustainable use of natural resources and build their proficiency in adapting to climatic variations and shocks affecting their economic activities.
Uzbekistan’s economy has been one of the world’s best performers in recent years, with economic growth driven primarily by state-led investments, and exports of natural gas, gold, and cotton.
The population is more than 31 million, with 64 per cent of the total, and 75 per cent of the lower income population, living in rural areas.
Agriculture produces about 17.5 per cent of GDP, and provides employment for some 15 million people, though many of them are under-employed.