Uzbekistan enjoys a vast wealth of indigenous plant diversity, represented by
several hundred plant species growing both in the valleys and in the mountainous
areas of the country. Some species are widely known and are grown on fertile,
irrigated land, with the purpose of meeting the needs of the population. Others
are known only locally and are often grown on marginal
land, without government support or the assistance of scientifically proven agricultural technologies.
As a result of the study dealt with in this report, it emerged that there is considerable demand for underutilized plant species in the rural areas of Uzbekistan, particularly due to their high nutrient value. There is also considerable potential for additional income generation through the utilization of these species - which sometimes represents the only sources of income for many poor rural families. However, due to the limited production of these crops, their genetic base has
become gradually degraded and there is a risk of their losing their distinctive characteristics, with the consequent loss of biodiversity to the country at large.
The study identified and screened all national policy and legislation related to both cultivated crops and wild plants, covering the period from the proclamation of Uzbekistan’s national independence in 1991 up to the present day. It describes the various laws on conservation and use of biodiversity adopted since then, as well as legislative regulations in the field of access, protection and use of flora.
It was clear from the analysis that there is no particular motivation towards a more extensive use of underutilized plant species in Uzbekistan. However, a number of factors emerged as limiting the cultivation of such species and so recommendations were drawn up to help in surmounting these constraints and assist in promoting the use of the species. These included the preparation of a position paper with suggestions on appropriate policy and legislative measures for the
development and promotion of underutilized plant species for food and agriculture, for submission to the Government of Uzbekistan.
The paper was subsequently submitted to the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan by the Uzbek Scientific and Research Centre of Agriculture on 16 June 2006.