Within the framework of The regional project “Trade facilitation in Central Asia”, funded by the government of Finland, UNDP is launching a project: “Strengthening the value chains of dried fruits, berries, dried vegetables and nuts”.
The History Of Timur Subankulova
Timur Subankulov from the Aksy district of Jalal-Abad region, since the 2000s, started producing dried prunes on homemade equipment converted from an incubator for chickens. There are a lot of prunes in the area, and Timur’s company increased its capacity every year. Initially, the buyers of dried plums were traders from Tajikistan and local markets in Bishkek and Osh. But the purchase price was not stable and depended on the harvest. If the year is productive, the price fell to 40-50 soms per kilogram. In lean years, it rose to 135 soms.
Since 2017, the company has been working to improve the quality of products. In the next two years, with the assistance of UNDP, a new workshop was built that meets the requirements of HACCP, new drying equipment with a capacity of 3 tons of fresh products and a refrigerator for storing prunes was installed.
Back in 2017, more than 10 tons were processed for drying. The resulting 3 tons of dried plums were sold to buyers from the city of Isfara (Republic of Tajikistan) at a price of 90 som per kilogram.
Then, in 2018, the company began to cooperate with the trading company “Sun Planet Organics”, a major exporter of dried fruits. The requirement of Sun Planet Organics was to produce dried plums according to the Organic standard. And since this year, PE “Subankulov” has been producing organic prunes for this company.
But, as Timur Subankulov said, the purchase price of organic prunes is low, in the 2019 season it was 80 som per kilogram. To date (end of August 2020), Sun Planet Organics has not yet decided on either the order volume or the purchase price for prunes. This uncertainty does not allow the company to make production and financial plans for the season.
Today, the processor has come to the conclusion that it needs to enter the export markets itself. Develop your own brand, product packaging, and expand your product range. For example, drying apples. For this purpose, in his native Aksy district, there is a large raw material base of apples, both garden and wild. First of all, he needs to buy equipment for cutting these fruits.
That is why Timur Subankulov is interested in cooperation with the UNDP project “Strengthening the value chains of dried fruits, dried vegetables, medicinal herbs and nuts” and hopes to receive assistance in training the company’s specialists and entering new export markets.
About the project
The money allocated by the Finnish government will go to processors and farmers engaged in growing and drying fruits, berries, dried vegetables and nuts. According to project expert Ainura Kumushbekova (Erkin consult company), support will be provided to farmers and processors in Issyk-Kul, Jalal-Abad and Osh regions.
“The goal of the project is to develop and strengthen the potential of all actors in the value chain and bring the work of farmers and processors to joint activities with high margin returns and export products,” Ainura Kumushbekova explained.
The results that will be achieved by farmers, processors and other participants at the end of the project should be the creation of new jobs, increased sales and profits, export volume, mastering new technological and agronomic knowledge and food safety systems.
As for the specifics of the project implementation, taking into account the pandemic, part of the consulting assistance will be provided online in the form of remote trainings, video lessons, video instructions, and so on. At the same time, Aibek Marazhapov, Director of Erkin consult, said that most of the work and consultations on business planning and financial planning will be conducted in person during personal meetings with the management and accountants of clients. Training materials, brochures, and videos will also be developed.
The subject of the consultations is agronomy, production technologies, marketing and sales, export supply management skills, business planning, food safety systems and supply chain management.
It should be noted that in terms of participation in the project, there are no restrictions on the form of ownership. In other words, both private and state farms can participate in it. For example, the same state forestry enterprises that are fruit and berry forestry enterprises.
It should be emphasized that the project covers a fairly large number of participants. At least 120 farmers and at least 10 processing companies. By the way, it should be borne in mind that the concept of actors in the CDR refers not only to farmers, but also to forest users, farmers ‘ associations, cooperatives, and associations. The selection of actors in the CDR will depend on the raw material base. In other words, the area where the participant works (farmer, forest user, and so on) must grow enough raw materials (berries, vegetables, and fruits) for processing and further export.
Erkin consult, the project’s implementer, has already held a number of fruitful meetings with representatives of the Ministry of agriculture and processing industry, government Plenipotentiaries in Issyk-Kul, Osh and Jalal-Abad regions, heads of ayil okmotu, from which project approvals and a number of recommendations were received.
The project implementation period is 1.5 years. August 2020-December 2021.