Food Processing / Packaging Global Market
Insights and Opportunities
Overview: In 2008 Tajikistan’s food processing industry amounted to over $333 million, approximately 20% of the total industrial output of Tajikistan of $1.7 billion. The food industry is the second-largest contributor to gross industrial output, processing domestically harvested fruit, wheat, tobacco, and other agricultural products.
The food-processing sector in Tajikistan has 21 sub-sectors, including canned vegetables, canned fruits, fresh and dry fruits, meat and dairy processing, feed and confectionary production, as well as production of tobacco and alcohol. There are over 600 companies in the sector. Once wholly owned by the government, the industry is now largely in the private sector, and has a strong demand for capital equipment. Most enterprises are small seasonal operators, selling to local markets.
Following the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, the output of the food processing sector sharply declined, reaching an all-time low in 1999. The breakup of the centralized planning and sales system and the lack of financing to run operations, coupled with political and economic instability, resulted in the sector’s critical state. Tajikistan was a major producer of fruits and vegetables in the former Soviet Union, with annual exports outside of the republic reaching 200,000 tons (100,000 tons of fruit, 60,000 tons of vegetables and 30,000-40,000 tons of canned food) prior to 1990. Although more acreage is now being used to produce food than during Soviet times, lower agricultural yields have prevented a rise in overall production. In 2007, Tajikistan’s food processing industry exported 23,414 tons of fruit, 103,067 tons of vegetables, 57,825 tons of dried fruit, and 14,652 tons of canned food.
Between 1991 and 2008 only two projects received major investment: (1) the $12.6 million water bottling plant Obi Zulol and (2) a $3.97 million fruit and vegetable juice packaging line in Khujand. There are other small packaging facilities in the country, mainly using Chinese equipment. In general, however, most processing and packaging equipment in the country is very outdated, with some technologies dating back to the 1930s.
Best Products/Services: There is a real demand for food processing at all scales. Additional opportunities exist for U.S. investors who are willing to establish joint ventures and partnerships with existing producers to add value to products. The best prospects for U.S. exporters and investors are: Machines for the preparation of fruits, nuts, and vegetables; Machines for cleaning, sorting, grading seeds, grains, and vegetables; Juice extractors; Machines for filling, closing, and sealing bottles, cans, boxes, bags, or other containers; and Fruit dehydrators.
Opportunities: In general, opportunities exist in fresh fruits and vegetables production, processing, and related services such as cold storage facilities or transportation; there is even a potential for organic production and exports to high-value markets.