Written March 2010
Shahabidin Akbarhodzhaev, a farmer from Osh province, began growing flowers, fresh cucumbers and tomatoes on 0.3 hectares (ha) in his greenhouse in the late 1990s. The cost to heat the greenhouse with natural gas increased each year. In addition, the import of contraband vegetables and flowers from a neighboring country caused a decrease in prices for Akbarhodzhaev’s greenhouse products. These factors caused his business to become unprofitable.
In 2003 Akbarhodzhaev joined the Association of Agribusinessmen of Kyrgyzstan ("Jer Azygy"), established by USAID’s КАЕD project, to learn new ways to manage his business. This was the beginning of new success for him. He became an active member of the association and participated in all trainings on improvement of greenhouse crops, growing conditions and greenhouse maintenance. These trainings allowed Akbarhodzhaev to study modern techniques of greenhouse maintenance and obtain information essential for successful business management. With the KAED project’s support in 2004, Akbarhodzhaev purchased a gravitational drip irrigation system at a reduced price. He also exhibited flowers and flower saplings from his greenhouse in three Agro-Expo Silk Road agricultural exhibitions. Participation in these exhibitions helped Akbarhodzhaev distribute information about his business and establish important business contacts.
In 2004 Akbarhodzhaev opened “Osh Rosa,” a retail farm store, and became an agro-input dealer. He holds a diploma in agronomy and is qualified to advise his customers on the proper use of crop protection products and fertilizers. In 2008 Akbarhodzhaev was chosen as a participant in a KAED-organized trade mission to China. During the trade mission, Akbarhodzhaev learned about ice cream production and purchased the necessary equipment. In the spring of 2009 he started the production and sale of ice cream. Within a year Akbarhodzhaev was processing up to 300 liters of milk into ice cream per day. He plans to increase milk processing to 500 liters per day. He currently buys milk from farmers in the Osh suburbs; however, in 2010 Akbarhodzhaev plans to organize his own dairy farm with 15 dairy cows. He has a cow shed, yard and two ha of arable land.
Akbarhodzhaev plans to use cow manure as organic fertilizer for his flowers, making his business more cost-effective and waste-free. He also plans to construct a bio-gas system to heat his greenhouse to save money on heating. Akbarhodzhaev doubled his working capital from 300,000 to 600,000 soms (from US $7,000 to $14,000). His businesses have created jobs for nine people and allow Akbarhodzhaev to support his four children and seven grandchildren.