28.01.2022, Friday

Measures to develop viticulture identified

On July 7, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev chaired a videoconference on the development of viticulture and industrial processing of grapes, as well as measures to organize enotourism in the regions.

The Head of the state noted that in Uzbekistan the traditions of viticulture have a long history and there are great opportunities for the development of the sphere.

“Viticulture has been an integral part of agriculture for centuries, a value, pride and source of income for our people. The cultivation of grapes is inextricably linked to our lifestyle and customs. Grapes grew on every street, in every yard. Such grape varieties as “Husayni”, “Toifi”, “Rizamat-ota”, “Kelinbarmoq” and “Kishmish” were famous far beyond the borders of our country”, said Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Grapes are grown in the country on an area of ​​90 thousand hectares. This sphere employs 900 thousand people on a permanent and seasonal basis.

Over the past four years, 52,000 hectares of new vineyards have been planted. 210 billion UZS have been allocated to the sphere in the form of subsidies. During this period, the share of grapes in the export of fruit and vegetable products doubled.

At the same time, an analysis of market demand reveals huge untapped opportunities. In particular, in terms of sales, grapes are the third largest fruit in the world market, and the demand for them is growing by an average of $350 million annually.

The potential of Uzbekistan’s grape exports is estimated at least $600 million, raisins at $500 million, and wine at $100 million.

Viticulture has a high economic and social impact. Thus, an average of 100 million UZS is spent on growing table grapes on 1 hectare of area, and in 4 years it can bring a net profit of 250 million UZS. Grapeseed oil is also highly valued in the world market.

Another important aspect is that 1 hectare of vineyards, especially of a trellis type, can provide jobs for up to 10 people, produce products worth 300 million UZS and export products on average for $25 thousand, while 1 hectare of grain crops provides employment for 2 people and provides products for a maximum of 20 million UZS.

These comparative facts confirm the need for more attention to viticulture and solving the problematic issues in the sphere.

Unfortunately, in some districts, the area of ​​large vineyards has decreased by 7 thousand hectares over the past four years. There is practically no breeding work in the sphere. Grape varieties created 40-50 years ago are grown. There is no incentive system for the renewal of vineyards. The science and technology of growing vines is not followed, neither scientists nor producers are involved in eliminating diseases. Consequently, productivity decreases. Only 38 percent of the vineyards are grown intensively.

The yield of local grapes is 1.5-2 times lower than in other Asian countries. In addition, stone fruit makes up 90 percent of the grapes grown in the country, while the demand for seedless grapes is growing worldwide.

The level of processing grapes also does not meet modern requirements. The share of wine in the total consumption of alcoholic beverages is only 2 percent.

Wine enotourism is poorly developed in the country. Only four tourist plantations have been organized in Samarkand, Fergana and Tashkent regions.

In this regard, issues of broad development of viticulture were discussed at the meeting.

The need was noted, first of all, for organizing large vineyards in the foothill regions.

So, last year, due to the reduction of grain areas in Oltiariq district, large vineyards were laid on 2 thousand hectares. They employ 5 thousand residents of the district.

Most importantly, this will make it possible to procure an additional 60 thousand tons of grapes, to ensure the export of products worth almost $100 million next year and $200 million in subsequent years after reaching full capacity.

New vineyards have also been created in Farish, Galaaral, Yangiabad, Chiroqchi, Payariq and Qoshrabot districts.

At the meeting, the task was set to create, based on this experience, new export-oriented plantations in 44 districts of Karakalpakstan and regions.

The Head of the state noted the importance of creating infrastructure to service these plantations. For this purpose, project offices for the development of viticulture, provision of seedlings and protection from diseases will be organized in the territorial divisions of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Certified seedlings of grapes will be cultivated on the lands of the Scientific Research Institute of Horticulture, Viticulture and Winemaking named after Academician Mahmud Mirzayev and other scientific institutions. Subsidies will be provided in the amount of 10 million UZS for each hectare of newly certified plantations to stimulate the creation of new and renewal of old vineyards.

The banks will be allocated $100 million in resources to finance the planting of vineyards.

Household lands play an important role in the development of the sphere. For example, in the households of Bulakbashi district, 5,000 tons of grapes are grown, which brings in 15 billion UZS of income.

The President noted the need for popularizing this experience in all regions and expand the practice of growing grapes around the perimeter of personal plots and along roads.

Issues of the widespread introduction of scientific achievements and innovations in the sphere were discussed at the meeting. The Ministry of Innovative Development was instructed to create new high-yielding, boneless, cold-resistant and disease-resistant grape varieties based on foreign experience.

The possibility of increasing the yield by 2-3 times due to the cultivation of grapes on trellises was noted. To popularize this method, up to 30 percent of the cost of building trellises will be reimbursed from the budget. In addition, the import of equipment and machinery used in viticulture will be exempted from customs duties.

The Head of the state noted the need for creating wine clusters to create a full cycle of grape processing and production of finished products.

Such clusters will be provided with benefits for the purchase of processing equipment, drying and packaging of grapes. It was also determined that the excise tax on natural wines will be abolished.

During the analysis of the export potential of the industry, it was noted that this year it was possible to increase the export of table grapes to $200 million, raisins – $130 million, and the export of natural wines – up to $50 million.

Instructions were given to create and promote a national brand of grape varieties abroad, to achieve phytosanitary agreements with potential sales markets.

“Industry leaders and hokims should determine for themselves specific plans to further increase exports in the coming years. From now on, when exporting 30 percent of the grown crop, taxes on profits and property will be reduced by 30 percent, and when exporting more than 30 percent – twice. In addition, a subsidy of 5,000 UZS will be provided for each liter of natural wine supplied abroad”, Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.

Measures to create the necessary infrastructure for enotourism were also discussed.

Deputy Prime Ministers, ministers and hokims reported on the issues discussed at the meeting.