The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $150 million loan to Uzbekistan to increase the access of livestock farmers and entrepreneurs to finance, markets, and veterinary and other animal health services, which will help increase their productivity and contribution to the national economy.
“Livestock farmers and entrepreneurs in Uzbekistan are facing difficulty in increasing scale and scope of operations, productivity, and profits,” said ADB Principal Natural Resources and Agriculture Economist for Central and West Asia Mr. Bui Minh Giap. “ADB’s assistance will help address some key binding constraints the sector faces and support the government’s strategy in agricultural diversification and innovations.”
The livestock sector remains significant to Uzbekistan’s overall economic growth, accounting for 40% of the country’s agriculture and about 8% of total gross domestic product. However, Uzbekistan’s trade deficit in livestock products remains at $75.2 million in 2017. Producers and entrepreneurs along the livestock value chain are also finding it difficult to access finance, with aggregate livestock lending of local banks accounting for only 1.0% of their total portfolio. Access to veterinary services and livestock research for farmers and business owners are also hard to come by due to lack of manpower and resources.
Of ADB’s total lending to the Livestock Value Chain Development Project, $146 million will be earmarked to participating financial institutions so they can extend much-needed, market-based bank financing for producers, processing enterprises, input suppliers, and service providers (including veterinary services) in the livestock value chain. Subborrowers should have a maximum asset value of $50 million at the time of application and should be involved in livestock production, marketing, processing, input supply, and service delivery. This improved access to finance will help increase the sector’s productivity, capacity, and sustainability.
The remaining $4 million loan for the project, meanwhile, will focus on the development of private sector veterinary practices in Uzbekistan, including improved access to clinical veterinary service as well as animal management, health advice, and drug administration. Specifically, this will include education and training programs for veterinarians in both the public and the private sector; the establishment of a veterinary association to ensure industry best practices and guidelines; and demonstrations of private veterinary practice delivery in the country. The project will also help improve capacity of participating financial institutions in developing livestock lending strategies and loan products.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.