UNDP and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan conducted the 2-day regional ‘Agricultural produce quality’ training for more than 20 quality and food safety experts of Central Asia to improve their knowledge and capacities on implementation of international quality and food safety standards for fruits and vegetables.
The Government of Uzbekistan has carried out immense efforts to develop and diversify the agricultural production and exports (from cotton to fruits and vegetables) as it is perceived as an important sector of the economy and a critical income source for farmers and many rural families in Uzbekistan. This transition however, requires significant capacity building in modern agricultural practices, food safety, plant health and international quality standards to ensure sustainability of agricultural trade.
The regional training-of-trainers workshop was the first of its kind to be held in Uzbekistan, bringing together international experts from Belgium, Slovakia and Netherlands who trained participants on UNECE agricultural quality standards, European food safety requirements and the system of conformity checks and certification of agroproduce, systematizing work on food quality based on “from field to fork” concept (based on Belgian experience), as well as commercial aspects such as finding markets and organizing trade.
During specially organized practical sessions, participants got acquainted with quality control methods for compliance of exported fruits and vegetables with UNECE quality standards. Using samples of the mostly exported products of Central Asia, including plums, tomatoes and watermelons, the experts trained participants on how to ensure proper classification of products according to quality standards.
The UNDP trade development activities are carried out in accordance with the Action Strategy for Uzbekistan Development 2017-2021, with focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN Member States.
UNDP’s ‘Aid for Trade’ project as a national component of the regional ‘Aid for Trade in Central Asia – Phase III’ project aims at increasing income generation, creating jobs and expanding exports.