The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Khatlon regional government hosted the first-ever horticulture trade forum in Khatlon, a two-day event that provided networking and partnership opportunities for more than 300 horticulture producers, traders, and buyers from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, according to the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe the Kyrgyz Republic.

Attendees reportedly also discussed innovative solutions to stimulate trade and promote horticultural exports in Central Asia.

Khatlon currently has the most extensive horticulture production potential in Tajikistan.  Farmers in Khatlon even enjoy the earliest seasonal harvest in Central Asia, a key competitive advantage over other producers in the region.  The purpose of this forum was to create business linkages between horticulture producers from Khatlon and buyers from Sughd and other countries in Central Asia that will lay the foundation for mutually beneficial business deals.

The agenda of the forum also included various sessions on post-harvest practices, cold storage management models, and transport and logistics information.  The International Trade Center presented step-by-step guidance on how to export products with online support from their trade facilitation portal.

USAID has supported agriculture in Khatlon since 2012 through Feed the Future, America’s global poverty initiative, which has included efforts to secure land tenure for farmers, provide training on modern growing and harvest practices, expand cold storage facilities, and improve the quality of equipment and seeds.  Farming families even receive health and nutrition information.  These programs now partner alongside USAID regional trade projects, such as the USAID Competitiveness, Trade and Jobs Activity, in order to provide horticulture producers with greater access to local, regional and international markets.

The USAID Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs Activity in Central Asia facilitates trade and employment in horticulture, tourism, transport and logistics across the five Central Asian economies.  By helping firms become more regionally competitive and by addressing cross-border impediments to trade, USAID helps to develop a more diverse and competitive private sector and generate export-driven growth.

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