On June 5-6, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted an Agriculture Trade and Investment Forum, bringing together around 200 international and domestic investors, buyers and agribusinesses. The forum featured business-to-business meetings, discussions, presentations and product exhibitions designed to link Kyrgyzstani producers with produce buyers, and to generate investor interest in agriculture.
During the opening ceremony, U.S. Embassy Chargé D’Affaires Alan Meltzer highlighted USAID’s successful partnerships with 52 Kyrgyzstani agribusinesses. With U.S. assistance, these businesses are investing over $30 million to expand and upgrade the production, processing and storage of agricultural products and services in Southern Kyrgyzstan.
“As these businesses expand their markets and grow their enterprises, they create jobs and economic opportunities for farmers and rural communities,” noted Mr. Meltzer.
Throughout the event, investors and Kyrgyzstani businessmen shared ideas on investment opportunities in agriculture, improving access to capital and regional trade, and modernizing the delivery chains across Central Asia. A concurrent exhibition featured the products of 35 local agribusinesses engaged in fruit, vegetable, meat and milk processing.
“This forum was very useful for us since we found two potential buyers from Kazakhstan” says Maksat Torobekov, co-founder of a dried fruit producer. “USAID contributed to the dynamic development of our company. With support from the project we managed to buy new equipment and open a new processing facility in Uzgen.”
A representative of a juice company from Kazakhstan, Yegor Khakulin, noted that the forum helped him connect with logistic centers and processors in Kyrgyzstan. “With local raw materials we can operate only four months out of the year, so we’re looking for suppliers in Kyrgyzstan,” said Mr. Khakulin.
The event was part of the USAID Agro Horizon project. The project works to transform value chains to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers and provide opportunities for import substitution and increased exports of Kyrgyzstani agricultural products.