Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan pledge to improve ties in wake of trade war
On December 25, the leaders of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan pledged to improve relations following a political row that degenerated into a trade war this fall. It is understood that the dispute was largely a personality-driven one pitting the former Kyrgyz president Almazbek Atambayev against the Kazakh government. With a new Kyrgyz president in office, it appears that the two countries are taking steps to deescalate tensions. – Reuters
U.S. government commemorates accomplishments in promoting food fortification in Tajikistan
American and Tajik government officials jointly commemorated the end of the Tajikistan Technical Support to Reduce Micronutrient Deficiencies project, a three-year initiative funded by USAID and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Among other accomplishments, it supported local partners in establishing a national program to fortify wheat flour with essential nutrients and trained regulatory officers to monitor quality assurance and compliance. – U.S. Embassy to Tajikistan
Over 21,600 farms in Uzbekistan to become multifunctional
The Uzbek government approved the 2018 Program on Phased Transformation of Farms into Multifunctional Entities, which aims to launch 22,986 projects on 21,634 farms across the country. Among other initiatives, it will support the startup of rapid-crop orchards, vineyards, greenhouses, processing facilities, and bakeries on existing farms. The program will cost approximately 1.6 trillion sums, roughly equivalent to $192 million. – AzerNews
Pakistan uses Iran corridor to transit fruits to Central Asia
An Iranian news source reports that Pakistan could start using an Iran-Central Asia transportation corridor to export goods to Russia and Europe. A consignment of cargo containing tangerines, potatoes, mangoes, and rice originating from Quetta in Pakistan recently made the first trip along this route, which has received major investment by the Iranian government in the hopes that it could one day become a major East-West corridor for goods. – Xinhua
Analysis & Other Information
Tajikistan: searching for food security
Cotton monoculture and poor support for agricultural diversification are responsible for poor food security in Khatlon province in Tajikistan, according to this article by a researcher at Leiden University (Netherlands). Lifting controls on the cotton sector did not lead to productivity gains or higher standards of living because of poor implementation and lack of market incentives. The author discusses the case of Tajikistan as a cautionary tale for proposed cotton sector reforms in Uzbekistan. – EurasiaNet
Muslim migrants succeed in Russia despite xenophobia
This Al Jazeera feature article profiles the Central Asian migration in Russia, recounting notable success stories of prominent Central Asians in addition to the usual narratives about the subject. It also provides historical context about the long history of relations between Russia and Central Asia. – Al Jazeera
Tajikistan can begin supplying surplus electricity to Uzbekistan next summer
Minister of Energy and Water Resources Usmonali Usmonzoda told lawmakers that Tajikistan is prepared to send surplus electricity to Uzbekistan by next summer if a 60-kilometer power transmission line connecting the southern regions of both countries is restored. Discussions are underway to revive the formerly unified Central Asian power grid, which was dismantled in 2009 following a series of weather-related energy crises that led to disagreements among the countries over electricity allocations. – Asia Plus
Kazakhstan may merge oil and pension funds: president
Kazakhstan may merge its $23 billion state pension fund with the $57 billion oil fund in order to streamline their management, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on December 25. He cited Norway as a potential model for such a merger. The state pension fund suffered a credibility crisis this year after its chief executive was accused of embezzlement. – Reuters
Publications & Reports
Impact assessments without true baselines: assessing the relative effects of training on the performance of water user associations in southern Tajikistan
S. Balasubramanya, J. Price, T. Horbulyk (2017). Water Economics and Policy (in press, accepted manuscript).
Current status and improvement of institutional base of solving soil degradation and low agricultural productivity problems in Tajikistan
M. Ergashev, I. Olimov (2017). International Yearbook of Soil Low and Policy, 2017, pp. 75-100.
Labor market integration of returned educational migrants in Turkmenistan
E. Hofmann (2017). Post-Soviet Affairs, 33(6), pp. 1-16.
Managing the water-energy-food nexus: opportunities in Central Asia
S. Jalilov, S. Amer, F. Ward (2017). Journal of Hydrology (in press, accepted manuscript).
'Kyrgyz clinics' in Moscow: medical centers for Central Asian migrants
D. Kashnitsky, E. Demintseva (2017). Medical Anthropology (in press).
The feminization of agriculture in post-Soviet Tajikistan
N. Mukhamedova, K. Wegerich (2018). Journal of Rural Studies, 2018, 57, pp. 128-139.
Environment, rural livelihoods, and labor migration: a case study in central Kyrgyzstan
L. Sagynbekova (2017). Mountain Research and Development, 37, pp. 456-463.
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The articles included in this news digest have been generated from online sources. Any opinions stated herein are not representative of, or endorsed by, the International Food Policy Research Institute or its partners.