By Anton Usov
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the expansion of the Turkmen tomato producer Agromar with a US$ 2.5 million loan for the extension of the company’s production facilities.
Agromar is a well-established brand on the home market as well as in Russia, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic. The owner of the brand is the company ES Milli Hasyl, which plans to use the EBRD loan for an expansion of its hydroponics greenhouse. The company plans to construct additional 5.0ha greenhouses with advanced cooling systems.
The goal is to increase the annual production capacity from 1,500 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes with the majority of output aimed at export markets. The Russian tomato market, with annual sales of close to US$ 1bn and an import share of 45 per cent, represents an attractive opportunity for Turkmen producers.
Hydroponic greenhouses are a highly efficient technology to grow plants without the use of soil and reduced water consumption. This results in significantly higher water use efficiency achieved from lower transpiration rates of the plants in the greenhouse.
The hydroponic greenhouses will allow increased control over growing conditions and resources use, by reducing water consumption by at least 75 per cent. This reflects a significant improvement in water demand efficiency and agricultural productivity, which is especially important in Turkmenistan given the country’s water scarcity.
The loan is supported by the EBRD’s Finance and Technology Transfer Centre for Climate Change (FINTECC) programme designed to transfer technology in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation and financed by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). A grant of US$300,000 will support the project and demonstrate the case for advanced solutions in the agricultural sector.
Since the start of its operations in Turkmenistan, the EBRD has invested €293 million through 80 projects in a wide range of sectors.