The EU delegation and Uzbek officials discussed the prospects for cooperation in cotton sphere, as well as the agriculture industry during the 76th plenary meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) held in Tashkent.
The EU Delegation was headed by Leonard Mizzi, Head of Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition Unit.
The sides discussed the prospects for cooperation within ICAC and possible cooperation opportunities in agriculture development within EU-Uzbekistan partnership, according to the message of the EU press service.
The head of the EU delegation also met with the minister of agriculture and water resources of Uzbekistan and development partners active in the country, including FAO and the World Bank Group (WB, IFC).
Following the accession to ICAC in May this year, the European Union Delegation attended the ICAC plenary for the first time, representing all the EU Member States.
The membership of the EU in the ICAC is of strategic significance to the world cotton industry and the 150 million people get involved in cotton production, marketing and processing each season.
Uzbekistan ranks sixth in the world in terms of cotton fiber production and the fifth - in its exports. The country produces about 3.500 tons of raw cotton and 1.1 million tons of cotton fiber per year and remains one of the main partners of Uzbekistan in terms of production and trade of cotton.
The EU is the 11th largest producer and 6th largest exporter of cotton in the world. The European Union itself, and many individual countries and companies within the EU, are significant providers of cotton-specific development assistance in recipient countries.
The EU has allocated €168 million to its bilateral cooperation with Uzbekistan in 2014-2020, which focuses on rural development.
Uzbekistan also receives regional and thematic assistance in areas like border management (through the programme BOMCA) and drug control (through CADAP/IcSP), education (through Erasmus+), democracy and human rights (through EIDHR), energy (through IFCA & INOGATE), SME development (through CA-Invest), peace and stability (through IcSP) and water/environment and nuclear safety (through IFCA and INSC).
The EU has been active in Uzbekistan since 1996 and provides approximately €24 million annually in development assistance.