The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) carried out a performance evaluation of the Horticultural Support Project (HSP) in Uzbekistan, IFAD’s first project in the country.
HSP was designed to support the diversification of agricultural production towards higher-value crops, with particular emphasis on supporting smallholder (dehkan) farmers. However, overall, IFAD underestimated the level of support needed in a new partner country. Irrigation improvement activities have cut water losses, but the scale of these enhancements have been insufficient in light of the increasing water scarcity in Uzbekistan. The data suggest that poorer dehkan households were excluded from accessing loans for horticultural development. In addition, the project did not adequately address the institutional capacity constraints limiting the potential of the horticultural subsector in Uzbekistan.
For the future, investments in the horticultural subsector should be climate-smart and focus more on regulatory aspects, value chain dynamics, and creating and strengthening links between value chain actors. In addition, IFAD should maintain its comparative advantage by allocating sufficient resources and focus to target poorer dehkans, women and youth.