SMEs stake on versatility, energy efficiency and new technologies
In the countless range of economic forums and conferences over the recent years throughout the world, small business is maybe not the first popular topic for discussion, but is certainly among the five, following the global crisis, recession and currency wars. Last year, small businesses in Uzbekistan brought 54.6% of GDP. Is this indicator the limit, or are there the opportunities for growth in the republic? The Uzbekistan Today reporter tried to clear this out from the review contest Tashabbus 2013, aptly nicknamed the mirror of domestic small businesses.
Perhaps, as never before, this year's competition Tashabbus 2013 could be called a kind of mirror that reflects not only the modern face of small business of the country, but also the latest tendencies of global development in this sector. This was especially noticeable at the exposition of farms. Getting a bit back, we will note that the first day of the two, intended for summing up the final stage, was assigned for exhibiting the progress of the winners of the district and city stages. Traditionally, the exhibition is divided into three thematic parts: handicrafts, agricultural and industrial exhibition. Stands of the farmers from all regions of Uzbekistan visibly demonstrated the impact of global changes in agriculture on domestic agriculture.
Today, the constant threat of food crisis challenges with the necessity of building an effective system of reproduction of food, where the farmer is both the original link growing the crops, and the final link to process them into finished products and sell out. It is impossible to achieve that without certain key factors which were so evidently seen at the farmers’ exhibitions.
Diversified production is one of the keys to the efficiency in modern conditions. The finalists showed the way they move in that direction, though with different degree of readiness. Someone is at the start and just going to buy new equipment by the example of successful neighbors, and some are already actively producing and processing agricultural products, and adopting manufacture of new kinds of products. Shokarim Xoji Farm might serve as an example. Its production manager Zohid Abdusalomov said that through the leasing mechanisms they intend to purchase the Russian production line for meat processing worth more than $ 490,000( USD/UZS- 2049.18) this year. That would create 25 new jobs.
The milk processing line has been operating in our economy since last year. We bought it in China through the concessional loan. Today we produce some 20 types of dairy products, which are well known to consumers of the capital and the Tashkent region, and recently to the residents of Samarkand and Kashkadaryo regions.
Reduction of costs through efficient use of agricultural machinery and new agricultural technologies is another global trend, which is reflected by local farms. It has long been a common tradition to see operating tractors and combines by German Claas, American CaseNewHolland, leading Russian and Belarusian producers. Domestic manufacturers do not fall behind: they supply the farmers with the less known machinery and equipment of similar class, but better suitable for local conditions.
It is worth mentioning that many Uzbek and foreign companies launch joint ventures. For instance, Chirchikkishlokmash and German LEMKEN GmbH & Co. KG successfully run a project on building a manufacture of modern tillage equipment. In general, the joint venture is scheduling to produce universal mounted reversible plows, rotary harrows, packers and disc cultivators, and reach at least 50 per cent level of production localization. Under the last year’s Program of Further Upgrade, Technical and Technological Extension of Agricultural Production for 2012-2016 it is planned to establish a ranger of joint ventures with leading international manufacturers.
On the other hand, Uzbekistan annually holds many core and specialized exhibitions, where farmers can get acquainted with the leading models of domestic and international equipment, try the machinery with their own hands, evaluate it, and buy if they like it. Last year alone, the exhibition agenda was replenished with a heavyweight, an international exhibition of agricultural machinery and equipment UzbekistanAgrotechmashExpo-2012.
This year's competition demonstrated the farmers’ urge for another global trend: the production and sale of specific regional products, environmentally friendly products, application of green technologies and alternative energy sources. Fish farming, beekeeping, astrakhan sheep breeding, silkworm breeding and others develop along with the traditional crop and cotton production, fruit and vegetable growing, and cattle breeding. The farmers got also actively involved in introduction of energy-saving technologies, alternative energy sources.
Stake on domestic producers
The exposition of entrepreneurs on the second floor of Turkiston Palace was first of all interesting in its diversity. Domestic small businesses quickly learned to play by the rules of the market economy, and took various segments of internal market by producing products in demand not only in domestic but also foreign markets. That is why electrical equipment was combined with construction materials, medicines, textiles, furniture, shoes and many other goods. This diversification of representatives of small business allows the internal market of the republic to be independent of the world market and supply the consumers demand with quality domestic products. Production of the furniture company Navoi Fayz Mebel exemplifies that. "Today, a larger part of the furniture sold in the republic is manufactured and assembled by local enterprises", says Azamat Khojiev, the company’s head. Some ten years ago most of the accessories and raw materials were imported. Today the situation has changed. Uzbekistan has handled the production of dozens of components for furniture manufacturers, and the list is constantly expanding.
Last year Uzbekistan took new steps to support domestic producers, and particularly small business and private entrepreneurship. The government developed a range of measures on permanent holding of exhibition-fairs of modern domestic non-food consumer goods with the focus on rural areas. According to experts’ estimates, the implementation of these measures is particularly relevant at a time when the global economy has slowed down and traditional export markets demonstrate the decrease in consumption. One of the solutions in this situation might be to boost the domestic consumption through the increase of people’s welfare and expanded opportunity of supplying quality and inexpensive domestic goods.
The fairs will be held by the special organizing committee, which among other things will be responsible for working out the guidelines to increase the scope of manufacture of popular products, expand the product range, improve the design and quality, help businessmen to establish relations with each other, with trade and mediatory organizations and consumers. It is equally important that fairs will include some special market research, which in the follow up will lay the basis of new programs on development of non-food consumer products.
In addition, Uzbekistan worked out an effective mechanism of preferential lending and leasing services to support entrepreneurs. Last year, the volume of loans to small businesses increased by 1.3 times and amounted to 5.3 trillion soums, against 2011. The volume of microcredits increased 1.5 times and reached 1.2 trillion soums. These measures enabled many local entrepreneurs to expand their business and handle the production of new, largely unique products. AlnazarOrzuServis enterprise of Urgut ranks among such companies. According to its director Sohiba Akbarova, the loan empowered them to purchase technological equipment for processing recycled materials in South Korea and China. Now, the company recycles plastic containers and manufactures chemical products for clothing, textile, furniture and automotive industries. It is also used as an additive to improve the quality of roads.
Exposition of domestic artisans is always a distinctive gem in the final stage of the competition. The works of many of them are well-known not only in Uzbekistan, but also around the world. Famous artisan dynasties have been passing their secrets for several centuries. In 2008 the government introduced tax incentives for individual entrepreneurs engaged in folk arts and crafts. The sector was also supported by a special law ‘On family businesses’. The document settled a new organizational and legal form of the business, a family business, has clearly defined the parties, the scope of activity and legal basis of establishment. The law also establishes a simplified procedure of registration and liquidation of a family enterprise, access to municipal infrastructure, the use of premises for the business.
The winners of this year's competition were selected in three main categories: Year’s Top Entrepreneur, Year’s Top Farmer, Year’s Top Craftsman, as well as an additional category of the Year’s Youngest Entrepreneur, Year’s Top Female Entrepreneur, Year’s Top Innovative Project, Top Entrepreneur on Creating the Largest Number of Jobs for Young People, Top Taxpayer, and My Country is My Pride. Manager of Rubber Trast Abdulhoshim Ismoilov of Andijon won in the category Year’s Top Entrepreneur - 2013. His diversified company manufactures more than 30 kinds of summer and winter shoes, clothing, jersey, rubber and other products. Bayramklych Dadebaev of Karakalpakstan became the Top Farmer. His farm is focused on growing cotton, wheat, rice, fish, poultry and cattle breeding. Mahfuza Salimova of Bukhoro was recognized the Top Artisan - 2013. (Source: Uzbekistan Today Newspaper)
Uzbekistan will supply about 200,000 tonnes of mineral fertilizers to Kyrgyzstan in 2013, the Government of Kyrgyzstan said.
Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan held the negotiations and in the result, the sides reached agreement that Uzbekistan will supply about 200,000 mineral fertilizers to Kyrgyz farmers.
Uzbekistan already delivered 840 tonnes of mineral fertilizers to Kyrgyzstan. It is expected that Uzbekistan will supply another 60,000 tonnes of mineral fertilizers to Kyrgyzstan by the end of April 2013. (Source: UzDaily.com)
The 2013 IWF Youth Weightlifting Championships kicked off at the Uzbekiston sports complex in Tashkent.
This major championship, organized by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and the Ministry of culture and sports of Uzbekistan, the National Olympic Committee and the Weightlifting federation, is the first and main event, to qualify for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China. 22 Olympic tickets for women and 25 for men will be played out at the competition.
Apart from Uzbekistan, Russia, Poland and Thailand had expressed to a desire to host this championship. The International Weightlifting Federation decided to hold it in Tashkent, as under the guidance of President Islam Karimov weightlifting development gets much attention, Uzbekistan has extensive experience in organizing major sports competitions at the highest levels.
The opening ceremony of the IWF Youth Weightlifting Championships took place on April 8. Uzbekiston sports complex was full of guests, athletes and sports fans.
- The international community is well aware of what tangible results the reforms implemented in all areas, including sports, and especially children’s sport gave in Uzbekistan - said the president of the International Weightlifting Federation Tomas Ajan. - Uzbekistan has created excellent conditions for holding all major sporting events at a high level, I am confident that the current championship will be successful. Taking that into account, the International Weightlifting Federation has decided to hold IWF World Championship in Tashkent in 2017. (Source: UzA)