Half a step…

by Nathan Hamm on 8/24/2004

IWPR reports that Uzbek farmers are being pressured to give up rice in favor of cotton, particularly in Khorezm and Karakalapakistan.

Uzbekistan’s beleaguered farmers are facing new difficulties this summer after the authorities moved rice off the list of “strategic crops” grown in the republic.

This move should have been a turning point for many farmers, who are now free to sell their rice harvest on the open market without having to worry about meeting quotas or accepting the low prices offered by the state.

I have a hard time with this. Picture rice paddies in the desert. Seems pretty dumb. At the same time, having the opportunity to actually sell a crop on the market is a great opportunity for Uzbek farmers. Cotton is a stupid crop to grow considering the irrigation methods in Uzbekistan, but it does make money (for the government at least). Just goes to show why water is such a contentious issue in Central Asia


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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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