FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Stronger linkages of cities and rural areas back efficient food systems in Tajikistan

FAO helped revitalize the urban-rural connection in Tajikistan, with a view to develop more efficient food systems that benefits residents of both areas.

Considering that well-functioning urban-rural linkages are the key to advance the economy, nutrition, and sustainable development, the project improved interconnections between cities and rural areas through promoting sustainable food systems and closing gaps in agrifood value chains, strengthening associations, cooperatives, and communication networks, and developing agritourism and farmers’ city markets.

“With growing urbanization the nexus between rural and urban areas is becoming stronger and more vital,” said Robert van Otterdijk, FAO’s agro-industry officer. “The perception of rural development as something completely distinct from urban development became outdated.”

Several trainings have been conducted to equip Tajik farmers with know-how on producing safe food and managing their agribusinesses in ways that support short and sustainable value chains. Additionally, they’ve learned about the benefits and challenges, as well as legal aspects, of establishing cooperatives and associations.

In Tajikistan, tourism, especially agritourism, has an untapped potential in rural areas for ensuring employment and preserving local agricultural traditions and products. Therefore, FAO supported tourism-related activities and knowledge building, including a series of trainings on agritourism and running an agritourism business. To promote the concept on a wider scale, FAO co-organized the International Tourism Forum and Exhibition 2019 in Dushanbe and conducted six awareness-raising campaigns that provided tools to advertise selected farms as a tourism destination, such as basic information materials and website templates.

“Farmers can secure an income by providing safe produce to the nearby cities, and urban residents can have fresh food – it is clearly a win-win situation,” van Otterdijk added.

Altogether, over 300 farmers have directly benefitted from various trainings of the 18-month project that is ending now, entitled “Adding value to urban-rural linkages for developing more efficient food systems in small and medium-size cities and their surroundings in Tajikistan.”

The project was funded from FAO’s efficiency savings meant to support specific targeted activities at country level.

21 December 2020, Dushanbe, Tajikistan