US Ambassador Recognizes Critical Role of Agro Horizon’s Private-Sector Partners
On June 14 and 15, 2017, Shelia Gwaltney, the United States ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, visited two private-sector partners of ACDI/VOCA’s USAID-funded Agro Horizon project. Together, these partnerships are expanding market opportunities for smallholder farmers in Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan. On its own, the Agro Horizon project focuses on helping Kyrgyz farmers increase their incomes and find employment opportunities. The project is a key component of USAID’s overall program to accelerate diversified and equitable economic growth in Kyrgyzstan.
Joined by local government officials from the Osh district of Aravan, Ambassador Gwaltney participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a new consolidation and grading facility on June 14. The facility will aggregate, clean, sort, and pack up to 24,000 tons of root vegetables, including potatoes, onions, radishes, carrots, and beets, sourced from 1,000 households in the Aravan, Nookat, Kara Su, and Uzgen districts.
The following day, she also toured the Atalyk Company’s safflower and garlic processing facilities in the Uzgen district. These high-value crops offer potential income increases for the 10,000 farmers living in Osh. Through its partnership with Agro Horizon, the Atalyk Company will provide these farmers with technical assistance and inputs—the cost of which will be reimbursed through the produce they supply to the company.
Because of private-sector partnerships like these, USAID has leveraged $22.5 million in private capital and expertise for the benefit of smallholder farmers by expanding markets, increasing incomes, and creating jobs.
Meanwhile, in the project’s first two years, Agro Horizon has trained 26,000 farmers in improved technology and agricultural practices and provided 6,000 farmers with in-kind grants for seeds, fertilizers, and more. Thanks to this support, apricot farmers increased their yields by 20 percent, and maize farmers expect to obtain two times higher yields.
In addition to increasing productivity, Agro Horizon also facilitates business-to-business events and links connecting farmers to markets. Now, the US ambassador has recognized the key role Agro Horizon plays in establishing these partnerships as a necessary step to improving the lives of Kyrgyz farmers.