Eat Fresh Fruits All Year Round or Entrepreneurs Improve Knowledge in Cold Storage
A seminar on "Cold chain: from producer to consumer" for agricultural producers, entrepreneurs, who plan to build new or modernize existing cold rooms, cold storage construction specialists, as well as representatives different segments of the cold chain was held on June 6th in Ferghana. The seminar was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Commerce and Industry Chamber of Uzbekistan, the USAID’s project "Aglinks +" with the assistance of a joint project of UNDP and MFERIT "Support to Foreign Trade and Investment Promotion in Uzbekistan", as well as the UNDP Project "Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase 2) ".
As foreign experts admit, fruits and vegetables in Uzbekistan have excellent taste, and thus are in demand not only domestically but also in foreign markets. Preserving the marketability of a product as it moves from the field to the end user was one of the main topics discussed during the workshop. According to some estimates, 25-40% of production in developing countries is lost due to improper post-harvest processing, thus leading to lower earnings. Therefore, special attention was paid to the financial benefits of introducing the practice of product sorting, pre-cooling, and adherence to temperature and humidity requirements.
Trends and prospects for development of the cold chain, a review of the recommended practices of post-harvest handling of products, packaging, transporting and storing were discussed during the seminar. In particular it was noted that over the next 3-4 years the demand for storage would significantly increase against government efforts to develop fruit and vegetable sector, and therefore, the importance of issues of high-quality storage would only increase.
"We plan to build cold storage with a capacity of 250 tons in 2012, and for us topics raised in the seminar are of a great interest. The information obtained will help us to proper plan the construction, "- said Yahya Tumanov, head of the "Mehnat Taraqqiyot" farm of Namangan region.
Before the seminar, a team of international experts, consisting of specialists on cold storage facilities design, post harvest handling and international cooperation from Global Cold Chain Alliance, visited several product collection and cold storage sites. During meetings, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to get practical advice from experts on different issues. In particular, the experts made an assessment and recommendations on the modernization of the cold room in Turakurgan district of Namangan region, where the UNDP Project "Support to Foreign Trade and Investment Promotion in Uzbekistan" within the framework of "Aid for Trade" component plans to run a pilot project on cold storage *.
During the visit of the modern fruits and vegetables cold storage «Oltin Voidy Agro Invest», a member of “Uzulgurjisavdoinvest” Association, in Yangikurgan region of Namangan, the experts appreciated the design and the management.
"In the cold chain, good equipment - it is only 50% of success; the remaining 50% depends on the management and staff. I am pleased to see that not only the equipment meets the highest standards, but the management of the storage facility is at good hands "- said Richard Tracy, an expert Global Cold Chain Alliance. As a practical advice, suggestions were made on eliminating ethylene, which develops during storage of apples.
The UNDP Project "Support to Foreign Trade and Investment Promotion in Uzbekistan," supported the participation of representatives of 10 organizations from Namangan region, four of which were included in the “Targeted Program for Construction, Reconstruction and Modernization of Cold Storages in the Regions of Uzbekistan in 2012”, developed in accordance with the Resolution of the Cabinet Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan № 105 from April 7, 2011 "On measures to promote and strengthen the material and technical base for storage of fruits and vegetables for the period 2011 - 2015 years». During the workshop, the entrepreneurs were able to exchange views and share experience with storing different products with their counterparts in the Fergana region. It is expected that best practices and knowledge gained during the seminar will help businesses to develop their operations and improve the quality of products supplied to local and foreign markets.