The European Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have successfully implemented the Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Project (ECTAP).  The project has placed a special focus on smallholders and female beneficiaries.

Launched in 2014, ECTAP was developed and funded by the European Union in close partnership with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and has been implemented in a consortium led by the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.

The project placed a special focus on smallholders and female beneficiaries and following the “farm to fork” method, supported production, processing, quality testing and branding in the beef & dairy, poultry, goats as well as fruits and vegetables sectors.  ECTAP reportedly played a crucial role in linking agribusinesses and smallholders to potential buyers as well as to suppliers of agricultural machinery and inputs.

To promote farmers’ access to finance, ECTAP built the capacities of local finance institutions and helped develop new lending products better suited for the agricultural sector.  Here, ECTAP worked hand in hand with the EBRD, which continues to provide credit lines to local financial institutions for on-lending to eligible farmers, agribusinesses and extension services.  The EU adds its own funding in form of grants to the EBRD loans, making access to finance more affordable.

Three interactive International Agribusiness Investment Fora have been organized with the Government of Tajikistan, mobilizing more than 750 international and local agribusinesses and agricultural suppliers to present state of the art appliances and facilitating access to advanced markets.  Moreover, ECTAP also organized four study tours to Europe and Uzbekistan, which exposed participants to modern farming and agribusiness best practices.  

Building on the extensive experience on the ECTAP and the EBRD’s pilot CLIMADAPT, the EBRD’s financing pillar will continue. For local financial institutions it is transformed into a follow-up Facility, Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF), to increase access to finance and enhance competitiveness agricultural value chains with high performing technologies.

The story of Saida Rajabova could be served as an example of work of ECTAP and female entrepreneurs.

Saida Rajabova has been a local farmer for almost two decades.  She lives in the rural town of Shahrinav, where she has built up a small dairy farm with five cows.

 A US$ 8,500 loan from Bank Eskhata, one of the EBRD’s local partners, reportedly helped her to purchase a larger milk carrier with a capacity of over 1,000 liters.

The new vehicle marked the start for Saida and her new venture – appropriately named ‘Saida’.

Women from 28 local cow-owning households regularly supply Saida’s business with milk. The village group joined training sessions on how to best feed their cows, prevent diseases and produce higher quality milk.  They also learned about new breeding techniques.

Increasing production was just the initial step for Saida in developing her business.  She later took training courses on cheese production, which taught her how to make the mozzarella and Adyghe cheeses.  She also obtained advice on how to improve her packaging, which ingredients to use for different cheeses, and labeling.

Finally, the program connected Saida to local supermarket chains and pizza restaurants in Dushanbe.  She designed her own cheese brand ‘Subhiya’ and has obtained a patent for the brand.

Saida and the other women in Shahrinav are part of more than 260 beneficiaries of the support of the EBRD and the European Union of the agricultural sector through ECTAP. The two partner institutions help reduce poverty and boost economic growth in Tajikistan.