Tajikistan: is "white gold" again a priority?
Authorities in certain districts of Tajikistan are allegedly demanding farming enterprises to grow cotton instead of food crops such as wheat and horticulture. Some small farmers, who lease land from these larger farms on an annual basis, are refusing to sign contracts for next year as they do not want to grow cotton. One individual quoted in the article claimed that the 15,000 somoni he could earn per hectare from growing cotton is not worth the 30,000 somoni it costs to plant it. While there have been no official restrictions on what farmers can grow, the article says that many view the authorities’ private recommendations as an implicit order. – Asia Plus
IMF reduces estimates of Kyrgyzstan's economic growth due to border situation
The IMF reduced its end of year forecast of Kyrgyzstan’s economic growth rate by 0.3 percentage points to 3.2 percent. The head of the IMF’s mission Edward Gemayel announced that the revision was made to account for the situation at the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border that has hampered trade between the two countries. According to Gemayel, IMF’s forecast for 2018 of 3.2 percent economic growth is based on the assumption that the current dispute between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan will be resolved by the end of 2017. – 24.kg
Five Central Asian nations sign cooperation program at Uzbekistan meeting
The foreign ministers of the five Central Asian countries signed a mutual cooperation program for 2018-2019. The document outlines joint efforts in security, trade and economic cooperation, investment, transportation, energy, tourism, and culture. The ministers also agreed to cooperate within international organizations such as the UN. The meeting in Uzbekistan was also attended by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who pledged additional assistance for counterterrorism. – RFE/RL
Weakening demand for Kazakh wheat
UkrAgroConsult reports that Kazakh wheat exports have decreased by approximately 10 percent in the first eight months of 2017 compared to the same period in the previous year. Russia and Iran no longer feature in the top five destinations for Kazakh wheat, which is mostly comprised of Central Asian countries. However, demand from Italy has increased sharply in the past year, making Italy one of the top importers of Kazakh wheat in 2017. – UkrAgroConsult
Uzbekistan faces gasoline shortage
Uzbekistan is facing shortages of gasoline that is reported to be especially severe outside of the capital. Uzbek gasoline production has decreased by 26.2 percent between 2010 and 2016 and the country has become more reliant on imports. Moreover, rampant speculation by unlicensed dealers is also thought to be a contributing factor. - AzerNews
Analysis & Other Information
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan power grids to reunite in boon for the region
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan appear set to reintegrate their power grids, following work done on both sides to refurbish their infrastructure. An official from Uzbekistan’s state energy company claims that all that remains is for Tajikistan to install automation and surge protection equipment. This is a significant reversal of a long term trend that saw the five Central Asian countries halt resource-sharing arrangements. – EurasiaNet
Kyrgyz-Uzbek citizens welcome reopening of borders
This Al-Jazeera video feature highlights the recent opening of the borders between southern Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, which was closed by Uzbekistan in 2010 following ethnic riots in Kyrgyzstan. – Al Jazeera
Publications & Reports
Optimizing adjustments to transboundary water sharing plans: a multi-basin approach
S. Acquah (2017). Water Resources Management, 31(15), pp. 5019-5042.
Volatility, diversification, and oil shock in resource-rich Turkic countries: avenues for recovery
V. Bayramov, L. Orujova (2017). Bilig, Autumn 2017, 83, pp. 303-329.
Causality among oil prices, GDP, exchange rate: evidence from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan
M. Dikkaya, B. Doyar (2017). Bilig, Autumn 2017, 83, pp. 79-98.
The water, energy, and agriculture nexus - examples from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
R. Shenhav, S. Xenarios, I. Soliev, D. Domullodzhanov (2017).
Remittances, labour supply, and activity of household members left behind
F. Vadean, T. Randazzo, M. Piracha (2017). Journal of Development Studies, 2017.
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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.