The sixth meeting of regional working groups from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan was held in Tashkent to discuss plans for further cooperation and develop a coordinated position on promoting commercial quality standards, food safety of agricultural products, increasing competitiveness of the region and the promotion of exports through Geographical Indications.
The participants of the Central Asian Working Group “CAWG” jointly summed up the results of the work completed during 2021 and discussed the following priority issues: development and promotion of the new UNECE Standards regarding the marketing and commercial quality control of: sweet apricot kernels; dried persimmon; raw and roasted inshell peanuts; as well as the development of explanatory materials on fresh and dried agricultural products, the development of strategies and plans of joint enterprises to increase knowledge in the field of commercial standards and quality and food safety (including GlobalG.A.P.) among producers, processors and exporters.
The initiative to create a regional working platform (CAWG) came from the business community of the region, and was supported by the authorized state bodies of the countries participating in the CAWG, in particular, state bodies for standardization, and export agencies. A key place in the CAWG is given to producers, processors and exporters of agricultural products, as well as representatives of industry associations.
The activities of CAWG support the following agreed methods of product promotion in the following areas:
• ensuring the compliance of agricultural products with the marketing and commercial quality control standards;
• ensuring the compliance of agricultural products with food safety standards;
• introduction of the best international practice for the identification of agricultural products produced, which will increase the recognizability of products and the image of member countries in foreign markets (Geographical Indications).
Representatives of the government bodies such as standardization bodies, export agencies, ministries of economy and agriculture of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, business associations and representatives of the private sector (manufacturers, processors, regional retail chains and exporters of agricultural products of the CA region) took part in the work of the regional working group.
This meeting was organized by the consortium “CANDY V” led by the international Austrian organization Hilfswerk International in the framework of the project “Regional Integration and Capacity Building to Boost Agrobusiness MSMEs Competitiveness and Trade Promotion in Central Asia”, funded by the European Union program “Central Asia – Invest V” and Austrian Development Agency, jointly with the UNDP Regional Project “Aid for Trade for Central Asia” funded by the Government of Finland.