Development of agriculture in Uzbekistan
during the Years of Independence
From the first days of Independence the Government of
Uzbekistan has been implementing a coherent and comprehensive policy
in agricultural sector aimed at ensuring food security. The approach
based on the importance of fruits and vegetables production for the
whole system of livelihood, maintaining the health of the
population, as well as creation of employment opportunities has
become one of the main vectors of economic and social policy in
An unprecedented decision of 1989 to allocate more
than 400 thousand hectares of irrigated land for garden plots was
among initial measures to radically change the approach for
achieving food independence in Uzbekistan. Further steps on
implementing the market and institutional reforms in agricultural
sector included modification of sown areas structure and reduction
of cotton cultivation for almost 2 times in favor of crops. As a
result, Uzbekistan, previously imported more than 80% of the demand
in grain, has gained “grain” independence, producing more than 7
million tons annually.
Other important vectors of the State policy in
agricultural sector include:
- liquidation of state and collective farms
in favor of private farms to ensure productivity growth based on
modern agricultural technologies;
- diversification of sectors in agriculture,
development of potato farming, viticulture, apiculture, poultry and
- expansion of preferential crediting system
of agricultural production;
- establishing of an effective system of
maintenance for farming enterprises, as well as supplies for their
needs necessary material and technical resources (fuel, chemical
fertilizers, biological and chemical pesticides, seeds);
- formation of logistics system for storage
and transportation of agricultural products, as well as its
Development of farming is among top priorities.
Currently, there are 67,804 farms in the country. The legal
framework is established and being coherently improved. In
accordance with the Law “On farms” and Presidential Decree “On
measures of further improving the organization of activities and
development of farming in Uzbekistan”, the range of activities are
undertaken with the aim to transform the farms – major producer of
agricultural products, to a powerful social and political force
capable to take responsibility for the further development of the
agricultural and other sectors, as well as increase the level and
quality of life.
During the short period of independent development, a
major reforms are implemented in Uzbekistan, allowing to almost
entirely diversify agricultural sector and provide population with
main food crops, as well as establish large volumes of their export.
Since 1997, our agriculture demonstrates steady
positive growth of 6-7% annually. Starting 1991, the volume of
agricultural production has more than doubled, allowing to increase
per capita consumption of meat by 1,3 times, milk and dairy products
– 1,6 times, potatoes – 7 times, vegetables – more than 2 times,
fruits – almost by 4 times. Currently, over 17 million tons of
fruits and vegetables are produced in the country annually,
constituting 300 kg of vegetables, 75 kg of potatoes and 44 kg of
grapes. These figures are roughly three times higher than the
average consumption rates.
The comprehensive measures helping to steadily
increase the export potential of the industry. In recent years,
Uzbekistan has become a major exporter of high quality and
competitive fruit and vegetable products. In order to ensure
year-round supply, a significant attention to the processing and
storage is devoted. Over the past 10 years, the volume of processing
of vegetables and grapes increased by 3.5 times, including the
canned fruits and vegetables by 2.5 times, dried fruits – 4 times,
natural juices – 7 times. More than 16% of total production of
vegetables and grapes are processed. Currently, more than 180 types
of fresh and processed fruit and vegetable products are exported.
Its share in the structure of exports is 73%.
The geography of horticulture and viticulture exports
is also expanding. Previously Uzbekistan traditionally supplied
Russia, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries, whereas now it exports
to the markets of more than 120 countries worldwide, including
Indonesia, Norway, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, the USA,
Thailand and Japan.
Since independence, there have also been positive
changes in the water sector. Reclamation of irrigated lands,
rational and careful use of scarce water resources, increase of soil
fertility are among top priorities of the further development.
Uzbekistan has managed not only to maintain its irrigation potential
during the Years of Independence, but also successfully modernized
and improved its irrigation system.
Principles of integrated water resources management,
advanced water-saving technologies, automated monitoring and
management of water distribution are being introduced. Measures to
improve agricultural diversification, the technical conditions of
water facilities, irrigated land, and more are taken.
10 basin irrigation systems, 1502 associations of
water users with about 70 thousand members are operating across the
country since 2003for effective management of water and water
The state budget annually finances the renovation of
more than 5 thousand kilometres of canals, while the water users
cover the renovation of more than 100 thousand kilometres of
irrigation and trough networks and 10 thousand units of various
hydraulic structures. In recent years about 1.5 thousand kilometres
of canals, more than 400 large hydrotechnic structures and 200
pumping stations were built and reconstructed in Uzbekistan.
A specialized fund for land reclamation was created
in 2007. At the expense of this structure, the State Program of Land
Reclamation in 2008-2012 has been developed and implemented.
More than $ 500 million on the implementation of
programs, including the construction, reconstruction and
rehabilitation of drainage systems was spent.
During the period of 2008-2012 a special company
“Uzmeliomashlizing” provided 1450 units of machinery, including 600
excavators, 180 bulldozers, 670 other mechanisms to the enterprises
engaged in irrigation and reclamation activities on the terms of
This document improved the condition of irrigated
lands on the area of over 1 million 200 thousand hectares, provided
optimum groundwater level, which has to a normal growth and
development of crops. The area of land irrigated with groundwater
level up to 2 meters decreased by 117.6 thousand hectares. The area
with strongly and medium saline lands of 105.0 thousand hectares was
desalted and reached the level of desalination of slightly saline
and non-saline lands.
In order to further improve the reclamation and
irrigation infrastructure the State Program on improvement of
irrigated land and the rational use of water resources was
established for the period of 2013 - 2017. More than $ 1.2 billion
were allocated for its implementation.
As part of the program 1771 km of drainage network
has been built and reconstructed in 2013-2014, 24.7 thousand km of
repair work has been carried out. 360 units of reclamation equipment
were purchased in terms of reduced leasing. In addition, reclamation
of irrigated lands on the area of over 1 million 700 thousand
hectares was improved.
Special attention is paid to the development of
water-saving irrigation technologies. Thus, in recent years drip
irrigation has been implemented in over 16.3 hectares of area with
an annual increase of 5 hectares. Watering by means of flexible
hoses and through the film is already used on more than 18.7
hectares of land, mainly in the cotton fields.
Within the period from 2013 to 2017 land users and
farmers at the expense of the state will be provided with
preferential long-term loans for the implementation of drip
irrigation systems on the area of 25 hectares. Farmer unions which
have implemented water-saving technologies in their activities are
exempt from payment of land and other types of taxes for 5 years.
A great attention is paid to the improvement of water
infrastructure by attracting foreign investment. Major projects with
the participation of international financial institutions and
partner countries are being realized.
Such projects as “drainage projects in Uzbekistan”
worth $ 74,550,000 have now been completed with the participation of
the World Bank. Other projects include “Rehabilitation of the
pumping station Kuyumazar” together with the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (cost - $ 12 million.),
“Rehabilitation of Karakul pumping station” with the assistance of
Chinese investors ($ 14 million).
In the period of 2009-2014 the first two phases of
“German Water Initiative for Central Asia” have been successfully
implemented. In particular its program “Transboundary Water
Management” (TWRM), under which the there was reconstruction of
interdistrict channel “Bad Bad” (Samarkand region), river
“Padshaata” (Namangan region) and its headwork. Also technical
assistance was provided to the State Inspectorate for Control and
Supervision of the technical condition and safety of the largest and
most important water economy objects under the Cabinet of Ministers
of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Gosvodkhoznadzor), State Enterprise
“Botiometrik Markaz”, Zarafshan basin management of irrigation
systems and to the Executive Committee of the International Fund for
Saving the Aral Sea.
The projects “Restoration of the main irrigation
canals Tashsakinskoy of Khorezm region” with the participation of
the Islamic Development Bank ($ 144.2 million.) are being continued.
Together with France the program “Rehabilitation of pumping stations
Navoi and Uchkara” ($ 38.26 million.) is planned will be started.
The Asian Development Bank, in turn, allocated $284,460,000 for the
restoration of the Amu Bukhara Irrigation System.
In the near future the implementation of two other
major projects is planned – “Improving the management of water
resources in Southern Karakalpakstan” with the financial assistance
of the World Bank and “Improving the management of water resources
in the Surkhandarya region” in cooperation with the Islamic
As a result of systematic measures water intake
throughout the country, compared to 1990 decreased from 62 to 51
billion cubic meters (21%) per annum. Specific withdrawal of the
sources for the irrigation for one hectare area was reduced from 18
thousand cubic meters per hectare to 10.5 thousand cubic meters per
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