Food for Thought: CATBIG visit to Uzbekistan’s Agriculture Sector

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Peter Lindsay traveled to Uzbekistan between June 3rd and 6th to attend the International Conference “Key Reserves for Food Production Program in Uzbekistan” held in Tashkent. Having made many visits over the years, especially between 1996 and 1999 when he established a local joint venture company for Intertek Testing Services, it was a particular pleasure for him to see first hand the tremendous progress being made in so many sectors of Uzbek life. Peter participated as chairman of CATBIG and as a Senior Consultant to British Expertise. The return flights on Uzbekistan Airlines were perfect and the hospitality was generally excellent. The event had been well organised and special thanks must be given to the Uzbek Embassy in London for arranging the invitations.

During the first day Peter was able to meet other participants of the forum including some other members of the UK delegation – Michael Thomas (CEO, Pathfinder Trade & Invest), Prof Siddharth Saxena (Chairman, Cambridge Central Asia Forum), Joanne Alexander-Safre (Director, Sefrex Ltd), Fiona Johnson (Managing Director, Vellag Ltd). Other excursions and visits were also laid on as required and a fleet of drivers, interpreters and guides were available round the clock.

On the second day, the entire overseas delegation, plus many local partners, traveled to Samarkand. This was an opportunity to enjoy the new express train which took just over 2 hours. Peter’s group started by touring an extremely well organised intensive farm, then a facility for the production of fruit juices and concentrates before touring a fascinating refrigeration complex for the storage of fruits and vegetables. As an active member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Peter stressed the importance of keeping accurate records during all stages of the supply chain for temperature sensitive produce – this will be a vital factor in the eventual export to the EU. Following a magnificent lunch in the Samarkand restaurant, with live music and dancing, the delegation undertook a site seeing program including the world famous Registan Square, Amir Temur Mausoleum and Ulugbek Observatory. Various dinners and networking events were scheduled for the evening back in Tashkent. Food for Thought: CATBIG visit to Uzbekistan’s Agriculture Sector. On the third day, foreign participants were transported to the magnificent Palace of Symposia, National Library named after Alisher Navoi. The Keynote Address was delivered by The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov. This was followed by speeches from the Director General of the Food & Agriculture Organisation, Vice President of the Asian Development Bank, Director of the World Health Organisation, World Bank and EU officials and finally the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Whilst an extremely intensive program, Peter gained a deeper understanding of opportunities for UK based firms in Uzbekistan across a wide range of sectors. These will be communicated to the business community through British Expertise. Whilst not directly related to the Conference, it is apparent that Uzbekistan is committed to developing tourism and Peter is already facilitating a project involving British tourism consultants.

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