Uzbekistan + 1 more

GIEWS Country Brief: Uzbekistan 30-June-2020

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  • Favourable production prospects for 2020 wheat crop

  • Cereal production in 2019 estimated slightly above average

  • Slightly above‑average wheat imports forecast in 2020/21 marketing year

Favourable production prospects for 2020 wheat crop

Harvesting of the 2020 winter cereals, mainly wheat, planted between September and November 2019, is ongoing and is expected to be completed by mid‑August 2020. Weather conditions were overall favourable throughout the season and the 2020 wheat output is preliminarily forecast at a near-average level of 6.3 million tonnes.

Planting of the 2020 spring grains, mainly maize and rice, is nearing completion and harvesting of early‑planted crops is expected to start in August.

Cereal production in 2019 estimated slightly above average

Harvesting of the 2019 cereals finalized in September 2019 and the aggregate output is estimated at an above‑average level of 8.2 million tonnes. Wheat output in 2019 is set at 6.8 million tonnes, 5 percent above the five‑year average, due to larger‑than‑average plantings and favourable weather conditions during the season, which had a positive impact on yields.

Slightly above‑average wheat imports forecast in 2020/21 marketing year

In the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June), wheat import requirements are forecast at 3 million tonnes, 7 percent above the five‑year average. Over the last years, the country decreased its imports of wheat flour (which declined by more than 70 percent between 2011/12 and 2019/20) and raised its purchases of high quality wheat grain from Kazakhstan, due to increased local milling capacities. This allows the country to satisfy its domestic needs of wheat flour and to export the exceeding production of wheat flour to neighbouring countries.

On 23 October 2019, the Government approved the Agriculture Development Strategy, valid for the period 2020‑2030. The Strategy aims at the development and implementation of national policies to ensure food security, food safety and healthy diets. It also provides for the transition to market pricing for all agricultural products, including grains, as well as for the abolition of State procurement of cotton and wheat.

COVID-19 and measures adopted by the Government

In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, the Government has taken a number of measures, including restricting the entry and exit from the country, imposing quarantine and self‑isolation measures, suspending international events and conferences.

To facilitate imports and ensure an adequate availability of domestic supplies, on 3 April 2020, the Government adopted the Decree 5978, which eliminates the import tariffs on a number of food commodities, including wheat flour, sugar, meat and dairy products, until 31 December 2020.

On 6 April 2020, the Ministry of Finance announced the adoption of tax reduction measures to support small and medium size enterprises and entrepreneurs that are facing the negative economic consequences of the COVID‑19 crisis.

On 30 April 2020, the World Bank approved a USD 200 million financing programme to support the implementation of economic development policies in response to the health, social and economic crisis due to the COVID‑19 outbreak.