tomatoes and onions are the major exporting agricultural commodities and flour of wheat, sugar, and vegetable oils are major importing agricultural items.
A survey administered by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) proportionally sampled SMEs throughout the country, and 56 percent of the respondents are working at agricultural sector. It can be estimated from the survey, therefore, that the number of agro-industry enterprises amounts to 130 thousand because the number of active SMEs in 2004 is 237.5 thousand (IFC, 2003, 2004).
Uzbekistan is the seventh largest cotton producing country and the second biggest exporter of cotton after the U.S. in the world. About 60 percent of population is working in the cotton industry, meaning the importance of the sector in national economy is substantial. Cotton took up about 20 percent of total export amount in 2003, and therefore the state revenue from the cotton products in the world market is the largest in agricultural sector. The heavy dependence on raw mineral and agricultural products exposes the country to the risk of financial crisis stemming from unstable international demands and prices.
The world price of cotton is moving upward over the long term, but competition in world market is getting severer; China, the United States, India, and especially West African countries are competing with Uzbekistan with their cheap labor cost and production cost.
Wheat production amounts to about 4.8 million ton, which is quite enough for the self-sufficiency, but some amount of flour of good quality is imported from Kazakhstan.