The FAO Investment Centre Division (TCI) will be responsible for capacity development and project preparation under a new USD 0.54 million unilateral trust fund (UTF) signed by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) of the Republic of Tajikistan. The Investment Centre, in collaboration with FAO’s country office, will prepare the World Bank-funded Agriculture Commercialization Project (ACP) and build the Ministry’s capacity to implement large-scale investment operations. The UTF resources were secured from the multi-donor Europe and Central Asia Region Capacity Building Trust Fund with an initial pledge of resources from the Government of the Russian Federation.
The ACP is expected to support programmes for private agricultural farms and their organizations, boost private sector food processing, and promote marketing in small and medium enterprises. This will eventually contribute to the advancement of the on-going reform of public administration and will strengthen human resource potential of the public sector in Tajikistan. In line with these strategic objectives, the Government of Tajikistan requested the World Bank’s support in building the ACP to expand commercialization of the sector, to reinforce the links between producers and processors, and support producers associations.
The rationale for increasing the commercialization of agriculture is laid out in Tajikistan’s new comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme. Among its priorities, this strategy identifies the need to strengthen agricultural input and output markets and to increase agricultural productivity through improved access to seed, credit and extension services. As a result, the World Bank will mobilize up to USD 22 million to improve the performance of selected value chains and provide financial and capacity building services to the project beneficiaries.
Considering the experience and mandate of FAO in agriculture development worldwide, the World Bank and the Government of Tajikistan called upon the FAO Investment Centre for its assistance in bringing the required skills and expertise to the MoA and project preparation. FAO’s role will include preparation of relevant background studies and ACP documents such as impact assessments, development of the operational manual and delivery of capacity building to the MoA.
In the last week of April 2014, TCI will field the inception mission to set the grounds for the project launch by fine-tuning the work plan, selecting and recruiting the national team, assessing the institutional capacities of the participating institutions, defining training needs and mapping the areas of cooperation with the ongoing development programmes in the country and in the region.