International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is seeking investors to build, own, and operate a portfolio of six refrigerated warehouses in Uzbekistan. Total capacity will be 21,100 metric tons (MT). Appropriate sites have been identified in Fergana, Gallaorol, Samarkand, Bukhara, Kitab, and Oltinsoy with the help of the World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO). WFLO engineers have prepared schematic designs for each of the sites.
Prospective investors have an opportunity to assemble a portfolio of refrigerated warehouses in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan grows between 6.5 and 7 million MT of fresh produce. This crop is estimated to be worth between $1.8 billion and $2 billion per year. Uzbekistan is a leading exporter of fruits and vegetables to the world’s largest importer by dollar value, the Russian Federation, providing investors active in wholesale markets with a ready access to hard currency revenues.
Uzbek farmers are also expected to become an important source of rental income for investors. Current availability of refrigerated warehousing in Uzbekistan is estimated to be no more than 60,000 MT. Less than 5% of the harvest is stored for future consumption. Of this figure, 80% is warehoused in facilities that lack temperature or humidity control. A lack of cold storage may contribute to post-harvest losses of between 20% to 40%. A shortage of cold storage has far-reaching consequences for Uzbekistan, where agriculture accounts for 17.5% of GDP and 25% of employment.
Increasing cold storage capacity is a high priority for the government. Cabinet of Ministers Resolution #105 dated April 7, 2011, calls for additional capacity of 120,800 MT to be built at a cost of $130 million from 2011 to 2015. The Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and Trade (MFERIT), operating through two subsidiaries—Uzmarkazimpex and Uzprommashimpeks—has retained IFC to identify investors capable of building and operating refrigerating at six sites.