Developing capacity for strengthening food security and nutrition

Matching grant winning migrants operationalize their business plans

21 Осtober 2019 | Dushanbe, Tajikistan – Efforts to ensure inclusive economic growth by supporting migrants in investing their remittances into agriculture and agribusinesses were sealed in Jaloliddini Balkhi district and Hisor and Dushanbe cites with the signing ceremony of the matching grant agreements. This initiative was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment of Population of the Republic of Tajikistan under a Russian-funded project.

In total, 41 successful matching grant winners from Hisor city and Jaloliddini Balkhi district were awarded with grants to realize their business plans. These focus on improving agricultural mechanization, dry fruit production, horticulture, greenhouses for lemon and early vegetables production, livestock improvement with a focus on milk and meat production.

Matching grants are an instrument for promoting private sector development. In this case, it is aimed at channelling migrants’ remittances into agricultural production, post-harvest storage and processing. As the result, these investments can stimulate market development, innovations and promote asset building among low-income segments of the communities.

“The signing of these grant agreements is not only symbolic, but also a moment that reflects the hopes of farmers and the private sector to increase agricultural investments in rural areas of the country,” emphasized Oleg Guchgeldiyev, FAO Representative in Tajikistan. “It will support sustainable farming, food security and better nutrition in Tajikistan.

Agriculture holds a very special place in Tajikistan’s past and present. Support to the agriculture sector is an important priority for the Government of the country. The sector holds considerable potential to contribute to the economy and to enhance the livelihoods of rural households dependent on farming.

According to numbers of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, migrants’ remittances could reach up to USD 2 553 billion in 2018 (17 million more than 2017) and constitute more than 29 percent of the gross domestic product, providing a significant income for the people in rural areas. Making productive investments into agriculture will help migrants to secure sustainable income and improve the rural economy in general.

“This pilot is at the forefront of our support; and we look forward to its success and to a sector that becomes more vibrant so that it not only delivers farmer incomes and investments, but uses better technology and innovations, - Guchgeldiyev added. We hope that the developed mechanism might provide a successful example and become a model for further replication in the country.”

Each agreement includes a business plan, technical conditions and general provisions that were acknowledged and endorsed by FAO Representative in Tajikistan. Now, after the signing of agreements beneficiaries will begin the execution stage. FAO, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment of Population and the local authorities, will carefully monitor the assigned grants’ performance and support the entrepreneurs with technical advice.

The matching grant recipients went through a rigorous and competitive selection process. They took part in intensive training sessions on business planning and sector development, which were organized jointly with the regional migration centres of the Ministry.

This activity was carried out within the FAO project pilot “Promoting inclusive economic growth through Matching Grants”. This pilot is part of the FAO project “Developing Capacity for Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Selected Countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia”, funded by the Russian Federation. The project aims to promote cross-sectoral collaboration by building adequate capacity to pursue and manage coherence between the agriculture, nutrition, health, education and social protection sectors.