FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

First national forum of cooperatives held in Dushanbe

©FAO/Nozim Kalandarov

14/03/2024, Dushanbe

Cooperatives are key partners in accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In Tajikistan cooperatives are an important driver of the agricultural sector and the rural economy.

On March 12–13 the first National Forum of Cooperatives in Tajikistan was convened, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture of Tajikistan. The forum provided a platform for participants who were representatives of government authorities of Tajikistan, FAO, cooperatives, development partners, scientific and expert circles of Tajikistan to share knowledge, debate current issues and consider potential future developments of national cooperatives.

The first day of the forum was devoted to discussion of the current state, challenges, and opportunities for the development of cooperatives in Tajikistan, legislative and regulatory issues of cooperatives and the application of international legislative practices in the context of Tajikistan. The second day was dedicated to experience exchange. Cooperative representatives from Tajikistan, as well as guest speakers representing cooperatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Republic of Moldova presented the challenges of cooperatives and experiences of cooperative development from their countries. Participants paid special attention to the ongoing discussion on the legal framework for the development of cooperatives, including the draft amendments to the Tajik law on cooperatives.

In his welcome speech, Deputy Minister for Agriculture Zevarsho Zevarshoev expressed his hope that the National Cooperative Forum will result in practical recommendations for the development of the cooperative movement in the agricultural sector of Tajikistan, which will further contribute to the achievement of food security which is one of the strategic goals of the country.

The National Forum of Cooperatives was organized within the framework of the FAO project on cooperative development and strengthening of agricultural institutions within the framework of the Agrarian Reform Program. In this context, FAO is supporting the revision of Tajikistan’s Law on Cooperatives, the development of a cooperative database, and providing capacity building assistance to agricultural cooperatives.

In 2020, within the framework of the FAO project and through the implementation of the State Agricultural Reform Program for 2012–2022 in Tajikistan, with the support of the European Union, four cooperatives were established in the Nurabad, Dangara, Shakhrinav, and Shakhristan regions of Tajikistan. This initiative aimed at diversifying the agricultural sector, developing the private sector, and implementing institutional reforms.

“Cooperatives in Tajikistan are one of the tools to solve challenges such as improving access of small producers to markets, including export ones, improving access to means of production, to processing infrastructure, and are also designed to facilitate access to financing, new technologies and knowledge,” highlighted Oleg Guchgeldyev, FAO Representative to Tajikistan. “FAO is committed to providing comprehensive support for the development of cooperatives in Tajikistan, as an economic model that can contribute to improving production, nutrition, environment and livelihoods for all, leaving no one behind.”

The project is technically supported by the Land Tenure and Rural Development team in the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and the FAO Development Law Service.