Within the framework of FAO’s Technical Cooperation Program “National review and strategy for aquaculture sector and fish value chain”, a draft National Aquaculture Development Strategic Plan has been developed. It will serve as a basis for further improvement of aquaculture sector. The draft document was presented at an online workshop attended by representatives of the State Committee on Veterinary and Livestock Development of Uzbekistan, “Uzbekbaliksanoat” Association and FAO international experts.
Previously, FAO experts in cooperation with national partners studied the aquaculture sector of Uzbekistan along the whole fish value chain from producer to consumer, including fishing harvest, transportation, storage, processing and other processes leading to the production of goods ready for consumption. The objective was to identify existing gaps, as well as opportunities for sustainable production, marketing, processing and trade of fishery products.
At the workshop Ansen Ward, FAO Senior Post Harvest Fisheries Expert presented a functional analysis covering both achievements and shortcomings of the Uzbek aquaculture sector value chain. According to the analysis, consumers in the country traditionally prefer meat with the culture of fish consumption not sufficiently developed as opposed to meat consumption. Furthermore, food safety regulatory system coupled with increasing production costs and stagnant fish prices were identified as other challenges.
Among the advantages, the expert listed the growing production, application of innovative systems for cultivation of carp and African catfish along with development of projects for the cultivation of trout, salmon and sturgeon and strengthening of cooperation clusters.
This analysis and international best practices were used in the development of the draft National aquaculture development strategic plan covering initiatives such as national marketing campaign to increase the consumption of fishery products, alternative distribution mechanisms including mobile vending and e-commerce, food safety strengthening and capacity building for private sector. The strategic document is aimed at raising efficiency and productivity of the aquaculture sector and fish value chains, which will contribute to improving livelihoods of smallholder fish farmers and provide better access to healthy food for consumers in Uzbekistan.