Part 1: Possibilities of Uzbek and Dutch cooperation in the field of Agriculture

Together, the Netherlands and Uzbekistan share a long path of cooperation. Agro-food is a current priority in the Dutch Uzbek relationship. The Dutch government contributes to developing the horticultural and livestock sectors in Uzbekistan by supporting international financial organizations and the private sector and providing knowledge and collaborating with research institutes. [1]

Agriculture in The Netherlands

The Netherlands has become known as an "agricultural giant". The country has incredible greenhouse complexes, some of which span 175 acres. These climate-controlled farms allow the country to be the world's third-largest food exporter after the United States ($63.6B), and Brazil ($40.9B). [2] In 2017, the Dutch were also the world's top exporter of potatoes and onions and the second-largest exporter of vegetables in the world. As a leader in Agriculture, the Netherlands has the expertise that Uzbekistan does not have. Agriculture could thus be a field in which both countries could further trade and collaborate. [3]

Agriculture in Uzbekistan

Agriculture is a critical sector of Uzbekistan's economy, accounting for around 28% of GDP. The industry also employs around 27% of its labour force. Cotton and grain are the country's major crops, and vegetable development sent out of rural areas contributed roughly 8.8% to Uzbekistan's profit in 2020. Uzbekistan is currently striving to diversify its agricultural sector to include fruits and vegetables, which has already been enhanced by collaboration with Poland, Russia and The Netherlands. Interestingly, according to research by the Uzbek Center for Economic Research and Reform and the United Nations Development Program in Uzbekistan, the country's agriculture sector, along with the forestry and fishing industries, was the least damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.[4] For the reasons mentioned above, the development of this sector seems promising.

Current relationship

Both Uzbekistan and The Netherlands are exporters of agricultural products and are already collaborating in the field of Agriculture. In the future, it could be interesting for Uzbekistan to export some of its products such fruits and vegetables to the Netherlands as it is a promising and economically rendering sector for Uzbekistan.

· Cotton

Uzbekistan being one of the primary producers of cotton. The Dutch Uzbek economic relationship could be furthered by exploring Uzbek cotton imports to the Netherlands. In the last years, The Netherlands has imported cotton from a variety of countries, which according to a report from the World Bank, did not include Uzbekistan. [5]

· Onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers Uzbekistan has been stepping up its vegetable production and is concurrently exporting a variety of products including onions, white cabbage, Chinese cabbage, garlic, and beetroot.[6] Although the Netherlands is an agricultural giant and produces these vegetables itself, there is demand for products such as tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and other vegetables, which could partly be sourced in Uzbek production.

· Fresh and dried fruits In September 2020, the first Uzbek melons arrived on the Dutch Market. While Dutch consumers are used to eating fruits from all over the world, receiving fruits from Uzbekistan would widen their product range, as these cannot be compared to the one of other countries. A good example are melons. Uzbekistan provides a favorable climate for melons, where very little pesticides are required for cultivation. Another import possibility lies in dried fruit such as raisin, apricot and melon – apricot currently being in high demand on the market.

The main advantage of importing fruits from Uzbekistan is that the products are on the market earlier than those of other countries. Also, shipments can be easily realized with an airway going through the German international airport of Frankfurt.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

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