Food Safety in the Dairy Supply Chain in Uzbekistan

or: Net-map Uzbek Style

By Ekin Birol and Marites Tiongco

We have just come back from Uzbekistan where we participated in a World Bank (WB) and World Health Organisation (WHO) funded research study on safety of food in Uzbekistan. As Eva said in her previous blog entry, we used the Net-Map tool in two different ways: to help us conceptualise the findings of our institutional analysis and to sketch out the dynamic value chain for the dairy sector.

The aims of the institutional analysis were to find out (i) who are the key actors in the food safety system; (ii) what are their roles and responsibilities; (iii) how are they linked with one another, and (iv) what is the extend of their impact on the safety of food in Uzbekistan. To this end we carried out 45 interviews with several public institutions (various agencies of the ministries of health and agriculture, and the national standardisation and certification and agency), private sector actors (including traders, retailers, farmers, national and multi-national agrofood processors), as well as NGOs (such as the Consumers’, Producers’ and Farmers’ Associations) and international organisations (including several of the UN agencies and CG centres). After all of these interviews we used the Net-Map tool among the research team, which consisted of IFPRI, WB and WHO researchers, to conceptualise what we have learned from these interviews. The Net-Map tool proved to be most useful in formulating the results of a very complex analysis of various institutions’ aims, roles and impacts in the food safety system in a very comprehensive manner, helping us recap what we found out during the interviews and identify what needs improving in the current system.

Final Net-Map of who influences safety of dairy produce, drawn to sum up research findings

Final Net-Map: Who influences safety of dairy produce in Uzbekistan?
Recap of research findings. Source: Marites Tiongco, 2008

We also used the Net-Map tool with a group of six farmers who are small scale dairy producers, processors and traders. The aim of this Net-Map exercise was to better understand the perceptions of farmers regarding who they think influence safety of dairy produce and to what extend information flows between actors in the milk supply chain, from producers to the final consumer. The exercise gave us a comprehensive picture of the functions and contributions of each actor along the chain. We were also able to identify certain coordination mechanisms (in terms of monitoring quality and safety of milk) that exist between major actors. With the Net-Map tool, it was easy to trace the market information flows between different actors of the chain and to spot bottlenecks for barriers to meet food safety standards particularly by small-scale milk producers.

Doing the Net-Map with small scale dairy producers, processors and traders, in Akhunbabayev village, Yukari Chirchik district, Tashkent region, Uzbekistan

Doing Net-Map with small scale dairy producers, processors and traders,
Akhunbabayev village, Yukari Chirchik district, Tashkent region,
Uzbekistan. Source: Marites Tiongco, 2008

Overall, our experience with Net-Map in Uzbekistan has been most valuable! We would like to thank Eva for teaching and letting us use this fabulous tool, which helped us very much in understanding and conceptualising some very complex and dynamic issues. Last but not least, we would like to thank our assistant Jarilkasin Ilyasov, who facilitated the Net-Map process very patiently and successfully in both occasions and contributed immensely to the explanation of the results.

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