Central Asia: Agricultural exports

Central Asian countries are set to boost exports of agricultural products to Europe, China and the United Arab Emirates. The local farmers are planning to introduce a farm assurance program Global G.A.P., the standard-setter for implementation of Good Agricultural Practices on farm, to promote safe and sustainable agriculture. 190,000 producers in more than 125 countries have been certified by these standards. At a conference in Astana, international experts explained how certification can help companies enter new markets and leading sales networks. Participants also learned about the requirements that they have for producers.

FLAVIO ALZUETA, VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL G.A.P.:

 - This is a science-based standard. When we decided to start, to form this organization it was first because we had a lot of problems with pesticides, exceed of the pesticides. But from 20 years ago until now the evolution arrived to have a standard that is focusing on food safety, risk for the health of the consumers and environment. Currently, in Central Asian countries the only country that has some certificates is Uzbekistan. The rest of the countries currently they don’t have any certificates here.

Project on Trade Facilitation in Central Asia is being implemented in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan since last year. Experts believe that Central Asian countries have a great potential in production of organic agricultural products. But to obtain an international certification, an independent agency should conduct an assessment.

GULBAKHYT SULTANOVA, PROJECT EXPERT:

 - We are going to involve auditors and consultants who will be specially trained. The first consultants can help arrange the work in accordance with the requirements of these standards and auditors can conduct audits. Thus, our products can be certified by these standards and can access international markets.

Experts say that active introduction of international standards will allow countries to compete will leading agricultural producers.