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High Food-Safety Standards Bring Sales to Tajik Company


A food safety management system implemented by Gulshan improved the quality of its beverages and reduced production losses. © IFC

Entrepreneur Khakimberdi Gaybillaev is 82 years old, and he’s continually coming up with new business ideas to benefit the people of his native Tajikistan.

A few years ago, he noticed that the prices of bottled water and soft drinks in Tajikistan were nearly twice what they were in neighboring countries. He looked into the problem and discovered that very few beverages were produced in the Central Asian state. Most came from places hundreds of kilometres away, like Russia.

What Tajikistan needed, he decided, was a domestic beverage industry.

So Gaybillaev struck a deal with a major international drink maker, Sinalco, to produce and distribute a range of products in Tajikistan. Sinalco had high standards for licensees like Gaybillaev and his company, Gulshan. So he turned to IFC for advice on introducing international standards for food safety into his production process, and we helped him pass a rigorous certification program.

Today, Gulshan is one of the largest suppliers of drinks in Tajikistan, providing high-quality, lower-cost beverages to supermarkets, convenience stores, and restaurants across the country. Gulshan is among 120 companies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that have benefited from IFC’s efforts to improve agribusiness and food production standards in the region, bolster local production, lower prices, and help firms break into new markets.

Since 2010, our program, supported by the Austrian Finance Ministry, has helped client companies generate $205 million in additional sales, while boosting efficiency, saving money, improving risk management, and increasing brand value. Those gains have helped IFC’s clients attract a combined $270 million in new investment, allowing them to expand and create new jobs.

 

Food Safety Certification Brings Sales

Gulshan was the first food processing company in Tajikistan to be certified by the FSSC 22000, a leading food safety management system. The changes took five months to implement and cost $200,000.  There’s been a fast payoff: the company signed contracts for up to $160,000 in 2016 alone.

The food safety management system has also helped Gulshan cut down on production losses and improve the quality of its beverages. That has strengthened its corporate relationship with Germany-based Sinalco, and has also opened doors to new markets, like Afghanistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. The company is now eyeing exports to Eastern Europe and the European Union.

"Through the introduction of a food safety management system, we have reduced the risk of problems in the production process, and improved our social, labor, and environmental practices," said Gaybillaev. “Now our customers can enjoy safe and healthy drinks. We also hope to soon see our products in the supermarkets of our neighbours.”

 

A Regional Focus on Food Safety

In addition to Gulshan, over 120 companies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have benefited from IFC’s advice for improving food safety. Our work in food safety is part of our strategy to develop agribusiness and contribute to greater global food security.

We also work to improve business regulations in the industry, promote access to finance for farmers, modernize agricultural supply chains, and help producers like Gulshan improve competitiveness and enter new markets. Investment in food safety also helps clients through improved efficiencies and cost savings, and contributing to stronger brand value.

IFC offers a comprehensive range of professional services to help introduce or improve food safety management systems: from assessments and staff training to helping the business attain international certification. IFC helps clients choose the most suitable certification program, and then carefully oversees progress.

This is just what Gulshan needed, according to its founder.  “The main objective of our company is the production of quality products," Gaybillaev says. "I'm always aiming to improve our technological processes so we can achieve our goals."

To learn more about IFC’s work in food safety, visit www.ifc.org/agribusiness

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Published in June 2017