A new day, a new start for small businesses in Tajikistan

By Volker Ahlemeyer

The success of a company such as Agrotechservice has a direct positive impact on the local population, since it provides new opportunities for jobs.

Ба забони точикй

Πо-русски

EBRD and donors support Agrotechservice with finance and know-how

Navruz marks the new year in Tajikistan. Literally translated as “new day”, the celebration takes hold of the country for several days, showing off all its colours at their brightest and best.

Spring is also busy for farmers such as Burov Abdujabor, who runs his small ‘dekhan’ or family farm in Vahdat,.as it coincides with their planting and sowing season. “We used to do our work by hand,” he explained. “Then we bought tractors. We have three now and that really makes our lives easier.”

His equipment comes from Agrotechservice, a small business which received a US$ 1 million loan from the EBRD as well as valuable advice on its accounting systems. The project was possible due to the financial support of the Bank’s Small Business Impact Fund, to which Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the USA contribute.

Local jobs, international opportunities

Just like Mr Abdujabor, Jalolidin Nuraliev also had big plans for the future. He is the General Director of Agrotechservice.

“Our ambition has always been to develop a business which can build and supply equipment to our farmers here in Tajikistan and elsewhere,” he said. “The investment really made all the difference to us. We could finally turn this dream into a reality.”

The production line and showroom are based in Hissar, a historic town about 45 minutes away from the capital Dushanbe. The success of a company such as Agrotechservice has a direct positive impact on the local population, since it provides new opportunities for jobs.

Various workers with different types of skills are needed to assemble tractors from start to finish. At the end of the process, the new tractors are tested on site and speed-race across a parking lot in vertigo-inducing circles.

Khasan Boboev is an electrician and joined the business soon after it started 16 years ago. A lot has changed since then: “10 people used to work at the plant before, now we have around 60 employees. We used to import agricultural equipment. Over the last two years, we started assembling tractors ourselves here in Hissar.”

The business is doing well in Tajikistan, so Agrotechservice started to export an increasing number of tractors abroad, for example to neighbouring Afghanistan.

Watch how we worked with Agrotechservice, a farming equipment producer, to expand the company’s activities in the country and beyond.

More videos

Building a strong economy

“Helping small businesses grow is one of our main priorities in Tajikistan,” said Ayten Rustamova, the Head of the EBRD’s Dushanbe office. “Our team invested a lot of effort in getting Agrotechservice ready for the loan – for example by providing the business with consultancy support under our Accounting Improvement Programme to help it meet higher financial reporting standards. We also provided legal support to the company.”

“Agriculture is one of the main sectors of activity and employment across the country, so this really is a prime example of how the EBRD can help a promising company grow and develop Tajikistan’s economy,” she added.

“Switzerland’s backbone and largest employer is not - as usually thought - global corporations or the banking sector, but small and medium-size enterprises,” stressed Corinne Demenge, Deputy Country Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Tajikistan.

“These SMEs create high value and often have innovative business models. That is why also in Tajikistan Switzerland supports reforms and concrete activities that foster the exchange of knowledge, access to finance and markets for SMEs. Agrotechservice is a very good example of Tajik businesses shifting from simple import towards localising production. By being able to produce for the local market but also to export Tajik-made products abroad, businesses like Agrotechservice create much-needed skilled jobs in the country.”

Better lives

Mr Abdujabor is preparing to spend much more time in the fields. He owns a trailer on one of them, which can serve as a second home during the busiest times, he explained.

His farming activities have grown over the years. He managed to buy more fields and also employ some extra help.

“Our work here helps us to earn our own money. Thanks to our new equipment and hard work, we can make a good living.”