TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN (28 December 2021) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Anglesey Food Foreign Enterprise LLC (Korzinka) have signed $12 million in debt financing to promote food security and sustain the livelihoods of more than 5,000 employees and 1,200 farm workers in Uzbekistan.
The financing will help Korzinka build inventory buffers to mitigate supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, allow faster payments to suppliers, and fund COVID-19 safety measures by providing masks, sanitization, personal protective equipment, testing, and support for staff quarantine.
“The pandemic disrupted supply chains across the region, making it very difficult to import food staples such as wheat, buckwheat and sunflower oil,” said ADB Private Sector Department Investment Specialist Noor Ullah. “This is ADB’s first private sector agribusiness project in Uzbekistan, and it will help Korzinka continue its support for reliable supplies of quality food in the country.”
Agriculture is the largest sector and employer in Uzbekistan. The closure of market bazaars during the pandemic posed a serious threat to smallholder farmers in rural areas, which account for 80% of Uzbekistan’s poor. During the pandemic, Korzinka has increased the number of direct farm suppliers and accelerated payments to support their operations.
“We are very pleased to partner up with the ADB and use this facility to secure a stable supply chain from local farmers to serve our customers throughout Uzbekistan,” Korzinka Chief Executive Officer Zafar Khashimov said. “Korzinka will continue to expand its network across the country in the coming years and teaming up with ADB will make sure that our supply chain will be sustainable and in line with the international standards we as a company have implemented from our start in 1994.”
ADB will help Korzinka implement a gender action plan to include female-owned enterprises in its supply chain, hire women in store management positions, and promote the participation of female staff in a leadership training program. The plan also seeks to increase staff awareness on sexual harassment and company policy on the issue. ADB will also help establish a women’s peer group network to support female staff.
“This project is milestone for ADB in Uzbekistan, and in the context of the ongoing pandemic, food retailers have a unique and powerful impact on food security and livelihoods,” said ADB Country Director for Uzbekistan Cindy Malvicini. “This assistance is an opportunity for ADB to help Korzinka directly support Uzbekistan’s food value supply.”
Korzinka is Uzbekistan’s leading modern grocery retailer serving more than 710,000 households nationwide. Store operations include supermarkets and convenience stores offering more than 15,000 items, more than half of which are food products.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.