Discover the Unique Erasmus+ Project Creating Sustainable Bioeconomy Education in Uzbekistan
To share examples and knowledge of best practices in bioeconomics, in early May, Latvia's University of Bio-Sciences and Technologies (LBTU, formerly LLU) in collaboration with the Tashkent State Agricultural University and other partners of the BioEcUz project organized the second international bioeconomics forum in Uzbekistan. Overall, more than 130 participants from five countries - Latvia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Lithuania, and Croatia - gathered at the forum.
The forum discussions were devoted to exploring theoretical and practical issues related to bioeconomics, such as the presentation by leading researcher Anton Kostyuchenko from the Institute of Macroeconomic and Regional Studies (Uzbekistan), who introduced the audience to the main directions and aspects of green economy development in Uzbekistan. Meanwhile, Irina Kulitane, the international project manager of LBTU Lifelong Learning Center, reported on the ongoing knowledge development initiatives and their results in Uzbekistan. A great deal of interest and discussion among participants was sparked by the report of Sandija Zeverte-Rivza, an associate professor at the LBTU Faculty of Economics and Society Development, which focused on digitalization in bioeconomics and its impact on effective and sustainable use of bioresources.
Significant innovation in Uzbekistan's agriculture lies in the move towards more environmentally friendly farming methods. In this context, Muhammadjon Kasimov, the project manager of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), highlighted the results of the CACILIM-2 project on the impact of conservation agriculture practices on soil restoration. It should be noted that soil erosion and salinization are serious problems in Uzbekistan. Continuing the theme of innovation, Hrovje Ivan Horvat, an EU-AGRIN UNDP international expert in Uzbekistan (Croatia), emphasized the introduction of innovation in agriculture using the innovation group approach.
The forum was organized as part of the European Union-funded Erasmus+ project "New Master's Program in Sustainable Bioeconomy in Uzbekistan", with a special role for the students of the new master's program in Bioeconomy. Four master's students reported on current issues related to bioeconomy development in Uzbekistan. For example, Rufina Biktimirova had prepared a presentation on the impact of sectoral bioeconomic policies on sustainable agricultural development and related problems, Azizbek Xasaanov had researched and presented on water-saving technologies and their role in achieving agricultural efficiency. Meanwhile, Khonzoda Tairova had compiled information on one of the bioeconomy sectors - food production - and its impact on Uzbekistan's economic development. The students' presentations were concluded by Abdulkhay Karimov, who presented the results of a study on energy generation from food waste.
On the first afternoon, participants continued discussions in four working groups dedicated to a specific bioeconomy theme. Each working group was led by two experts - one from the European Union (EU) and one from Uzbekistan. Within the working groups, key challenges, development directions, and recommendations were identified for issues such as digitalization technologies in agriculture (led by Sandija Zēverte-Rivža, associate professor at LBTU, from the EU), knowledge and technology for effective management of household/industrial biodegradable waste (led by Daiva Makuteniene, lecturer at Vytautas Magnus University), production and processing knowledge and technology for efficient use of bioresources and waste (led by Dina Popluga, associate professor at LBTU), and cooperation models for increasing efficiency and value-added use of biobased products and services (led by Vilija Aleknevičiene, professor at Vytautas Magnus University).
Information about the project - Erasmus+ funded project "New Master's Degree Curricula for Sustainable Bioeconomy in Uzbekistan (BioEcUz)" is being implemented from January 5, 2021 and will end on January 14, 2024. This project is unique because it results in the development and currently pilot-testing of the first master's program in Uzbekistan that is fully focused on bioeconomy and related issues. More about the project and its other activities can be found on the project's website http://bioecuz.tdau.uz/project.