JICA and AKF support small-holder farmers through sustainable agro-business development

JICA and AKF support small-holder farmers through sustainable agro-business development
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Tajikistan Office jointly with the Aga-Khan Foundation in Tajikistan (AKF) distributed quality agriculture inputs to the farmers in Khatlon province in the frame of Pilot Project for Agribusiness Development in Tajikistan, funded by JICA and implemented by AKF Tajikistan.
The handover ceremony of the agro-inputs took place in Shahritous district at the premises of newly built agro-input storage facility with the participation of high-ranking officials from Khatlon regional Government, Ministry of Agriculture of Tajikistan, the Ambassador of Japan to Tajikistan and Chief Representative of JICA Tajikistan Office, and AKF senior management members.
JICA Office in Tajikistan notes that to intensify agriculture production and improve agriculture output, the project provided farmers quality agricultural inputs such 129 tons of elite class 3 perspective varieties of wheat seeds from Russian Federation and 110 tons of quality fertilizers.  Earlier, for spring planting season target farmers accessed 4.8 tons of maize seeds, 20 tons of elite class potato seeds from Netherlands and 48 tons of fertilizers through the project. 
Established and capacitated through the project 10 Agriculture Input Revolving Funds with more than 900 farmer members are reportedly designed to support the sustainable management of seed banks at community level, advance the yields, promote the market-oriented agriculture, and improve the livelihood of target population.  In addition to creating a sustainable system of quality input provision newly built 3 storage facilities will improve storage capacity of farmers and enable them to control over agro-input revolving, crop planting, harvesting and sales.  
“This project does not just provide agricultural seeds to farmers, but helps them learn how to increase income and improve their quality of life by using seeds and by providing training on planting techniques. I hope this method will be adopted throughout Tajikistan and will increase the income of farmers every year for the next few years.” stated Mr. Takayuki Miyashita, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Tajikistan.
Mr. Muneo Takasaka, Chief Representative of JICA Tajikistan Office, expressed his gratitude to the Government of Tajikistan and AKF for organization of the event and highlighted the importance of agriculture sector in the economy of Tajikistan.  According to Mr. Takasaka “the project’s objective is to strengthen seed-revolving funds, which allows farmers to have access to high quality seeds, advanced agro-consulting services thorough the establishment of Agriculture Input Revolving Funds and construction of storages in all target districts”.
“The project covers Khuroson, Qubodyon and Shahritous districts in Khatlon province to further enhance the wheat seed production system in the country. The project also helps to improve livelihood and strengthen food security among vulnerable households of target districts,” said Amonullo Salimzoda, First Deputy Governor of Khatlon Province.
Mr. Javlon Hamdamov, Head of Programs of AKF in Tajikistan, noted, “AKF, as an implementer of this pilot project, closely cooperates with JICA and Government of Tajikistan and we are excited with joined accomplishments of project achieved to date.  The project is in line with and contributes towards the achievement of strategic priority of Government of Tajikistan aimed at protecting food security of population”.
It should be noted that, the Pilot Project for Agribusiness Development in Tajikistan is in the frame of JICA’s initiatives on introducing the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) approach, which aims to build the capacity of farmers to increase income and improve the access to markets for their produce.
JICA began its technical cooperation with Tajikistan in 1993 by inviting Tajik officials to gain knowledge and experience on governance and macroeconomics development. As of March 2021, a total number of participants to JICA’s Knowledge Co-Creation Programs, formerly called the Training Programs, has exceeded 2420 people. JICA Office was established in 2006 in Tajikistan and since then various Grant Financial Assistance and Technical Cooperation projects have been implemented more dynamically, aiming at improving living standard of Tajik people for the sectors such as agriculture and rural development, water supply, health, transport, energy, capacity building as well as SME promotion. JICA’s cumulative investment portfolio in Tajikistan in all sectors comprises 44 projects amounting to more than 418.5 mln USD (94.66 mln USD for Technical Cooperation and 324 mln USD for Grant Assistance), including 14 ongoing projects. 
The Aga Khan Foundation has been implementing innovative development solutions in Tajikistan since 1993.  Central to its efforts have been inclusive, community-based development approaches in which community-based organizations identify, prioritize and implement projects with the Foundation’s assistance.
The AKFs programs in Tajikistan focus on six areas: agriculture and food security, economic inclusion, health and nutrition, education, early childhood development and civil society.  Its initiatives address cross-cutting themes including gender equality, pluralism, human resource development and public awareness of development issues.  Through its activities in all four regions of Tajikistan, AKF is reaching to approximately 1.9 million people.

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