Revolutionizing Uzbekistan's wheat landscape with renewable energy


Agriculture is a key driver of Uzbekistan's economic growth, accounting for almost 30 percent of the country's GDP and employing a quarter of the workforce. To strengthen this sector, Uzbekistan has implemented an agricultural policy focused on enhancing resource efficiency, production yields, and the value of agricultural products. The country’s energy sector does however face several challenges, and the outdated infrastructure and frequent power outages hinder agricultural outputs through inefficient irrigation, storage and processing. The FAO report "Renewable Energy Interventions in the Wheat Landscape in Uzbekistan" shows how the integration of renewable energy solutions into agrifood systems could help overcome these barriers, which particularly affect small-scale farmers in remote rural areas, hindering their market access.

The "Renewable Energy Interventions in the Wheat Landscape in Uzbekistan", report, developed by FAO Energy team, FAO Uzbekistan and FAO Subregional Office for Central Asia, examines renewable energy interventions that enhance energy-smart agriculture production in Uzbekistan’s wheat landscapes, specifically in the Republic Karakalpakstan, Kashkadarya and Khorezm regions. The report gives an overview of the renewable energy potential in the target regions, demonstrating that wind and solar energy in these three regions have the potential to meet the projected national electricity demand by 2030. Additionally, it identifies the potential of agricultural waste for energy generation. The report highlights specific renewable energy interventions that can increase agricultural production, minimize greenhouse gas emissions within the wheat, alfalfa, dairy, and horticulture value chains, stabilize energy access for farmers and address existing shortages. The report also provides cost estimates for implementing these technologies and showcases the potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the use of photovoltaic-powered irrigation pumps in the wheat chain can enhance irrigation practices and alleviate the strain on deteriorating infrastructure. Photovoltaic mills and pelletization of alfalfa contribute to GHG emissions reduction and add value to produce. Solar-powered cold storage facilities in horticulture and dairy value chains reduce food losses and increase product quality.  

Given the critical role of agriculture in the national economy, the integration of renewable energy sources offers an opportunity for sustainable growth, improved productivity, and reduced environmental impact. By capitalizing on the potential of renewable energy, Uzbekistan can create a greener and more resilient agricultural landscape that benefits both farmers and the broader economy. 

The "Renewable Energy Interventions in the Wheat Landscape in Uzbekistan" report was prepared to inform a project preparation grant application (PPG) under the Global Environment Facility's (GEF) food system, land use, and restoration (FOLUR) impact program.