Photo Credit: Anatoliy Rakhimbayev / World Bank
Authors: Patricia Bernedo, Raian Divanbeigi and Teklu Tesfaye
Uzbekistan’s farms and facilities processing dairy, meat, poultry, horse, camels, fish, honey and silk create vital and distinctive products – and are key drivers of jobs for the 80% of poor households who live in rural areas and largely depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. By employing more than a quarter of the Uzbek population in primary production and along value chains, the livestock subsector is central to reducing poverty and inequality.
Given projections for more and better jobs in the subsector including for women, youth, returning migrants and in both urban and rural areas, livestock could become even more important for Uzbekistan’s economy and society. Recognizing this opportunity, the World Bank’s Livestock Sector Development Project (LSDP) promoted a more productive, sustainable, and private-sector-led livestock subsector in Uzbekistan with inclusive job creation at its core.
By launching a jobs diagnostic with assistance from the Supporting Effective Jobs Lending at Scale (SEJLS) program, the project also developed a new methodology to measure job effects generated from its activities such as direct and indirect employment, seasonal jobs, differences across types of livestock, and outcomes for women and other vulnerable groups. In addition to helping assess the quantity and quality of jobs generated by the project, the diagnostic provides a comprehensive picture of livestock’s employment potential in Uzbekistan.
Based on the diagnostic, LSDP contributed to over 25,000 jobs, of which just over a third were seasonal and a third indirect employment through value chains. While purchase of cattle for dairy production contributed to the largest number of jobs due to its labor-intensive nature, the most direct jobs created per 1 million USD investment was in meat production from small grazing animals. Activities employing the largest number of the 1,720 women hired by the program differed, with the dairy value chain hiring the most overall and animal feed production creating the most direct jobs for women per 1 million USD investment.
As part of delivering more jobs, LSDP addressed the livestock subsector’s low productivity and lack of access to finance, technology, and markets in partnership with government and the Uzbek private sector. LSDP strengthened public support services, enhanced access to improved production technologies for livestock farmers and agribusinesses, and facilitated their access to markets and finance, increasing the subsector’s commercialization and competitiveness.
In addition, the project supported inclusion of smallholders into agri-food systems and livestock value chains by strengthening their focus on high-value products, and credit line investments helped participants expand and create businesses through finance for capital investments and recurrent costs. Reflecting LSDP’s goal to spur inclusive job creation, women received about 13% of credit lines and made up 62% of participants in productive partnerships. Collaboration with the Uzbek Businesswomen’s Association and the recently established Ministry for Mahalla and Family Affairs Woman helped enable these results despite traditionally male-dominated farming culture in Central Asia.
Looking ahead, LSDP’s experiences point to priority areas for expanding employment in livestock such as revamping value chains and consolidating fragmented and low-productivity systems. Other steps to improve the subsector include improving management of land tenure and natural resources; strengthening capacity of veterinary and animal health services and animal feed and nutrition; promoting increased investments in technologies to improve the productivity of the existing breeds and introduce new more productive breeds; enhancing the country’s limited capacity in livestock research, extension, knowledge management and communication; and supporting and strengthening the role of the private sector, which is crucial to drive modernization in the Uzbek livestock industry.
The livestock sector in Uzbekistan provides an example of catalyzing more productive and inclusive jobs that could apply to rural settings across many developing countries. Lessons from LSDP and the jobs diagnostic methodology developed to assess the impact on livestock jobs can inform the design of similar projects in the future, helping to ensure that chicken farmers to bee keepers – and all who work with livestock – can realize their full potential.
This is part of a series of blogs sharing insights from activities funded by SEJLS to support WBG operations in maximizing their impact on jobs. The next blogs will present lessons from other projects supported by SEJLS across several sectors of intervention.