IFPRI Central Asia Weekly News Digest (April 4 – April 10, 2018)


by Jarilkasin Ilyasov | April 11, 2018

Dutch company to build potato processing plant in Kazakhstan's Almaty region
The Dutch company Farm Frites, one of the world's largest potato-processing companies, will build a plant in the Almaty region next year. The proposed plant, whose cost is estimated at $165 million, will focus on eleven elite potato varieties and is expected to process approximately 70,000 tons per year. The Netherlands has been the largest foreign investor in Kazakhstan, accounting for nearly 30 percent of total foreign investment. "Farm Frites Eurasia" will join nearly 950 other Kazakh-Dutch joint enterprises currently in operation and represents growing Dutch interest in the country's agrobusiness potential. - Astana Times

U.S. helps to spur trade connectivity between Central Asia and Baltic nations
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is conducting a horticulture trade mission and study tour in Latvia and Lithuania for a 50-member delegation of government officials, producers, exporters, and logistics companies from the five Central Asian countries. The USAID official quoted in the article hopes to increase links between Central Asia and the Baltics and views the latter as a potential gateway to the broader EU market. Horticulture sector and transport corridor development are two major priority areas of the C5+1 diplomatic platform comprising of the United States and the five Central Asian countries. - Times of Central Asia

Uzbek president signs decree creating free economic zone for fish farming
Balik Ishlab Chiqaruvchi Free Economic Zone (FEZ) was established by presidential decree on April 6. The FEZ is located in the Kuyichirchik district in the Tashkent region and will spearhead innovation in Uzbekistan's national fish production and processing systems. The decree aims to address the growing domestic demand for fish products and capitalize on potential export opportunities. - Tashkent Times

Belarus to participate in healthcare, food expos in Kyrgyzstan
Belarusian exporters will take part in FoodExpo Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek on April 17-19. Processed dairy products headline Belarus' main exports to Kyrgyzstan, which increased 2.5 times between 2016 and 2017. The event will be organized by a local expo group and is supported by a number of Kyrgyz government ministries. - BelTA, BiExpo

Afghanistan to supply goods to China via Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan
Afghanistan will use the Tashkent-Andijan-Osh-Irkeshtam-Kashgar transport corridor to transport goods to China via Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Afghan goods will be transported to Andijan in Uzbekistan by rail and then loaded onto trucks bound for China. Uzbek and Afghan authorities have agreed to continue joint development of the Termez cargo logistics center, which could improve the packing and processing of Afghan fruits and vegetables for shipment to third countries. - Tashkent Times

Analysis & Related Information
Central Asia's economic evolution from Russia to China
This analytical piece on Stratfor observes that Central Asian countries are increasingly being drawn into China's economic orbit, a significant shift from Russia's historical dominance in the region. However, it also claims that Russian and Chinese aims are not directly at odds in Central Asia, arguing that the structural characteristics of both countries allow each to pursue its respective interests in the region. - Stratfor

Tajikistan expects Russia at regional water conference in June
Tajik foreign minister Sirojidin Aslov expects Russian participation at an international conference on water resources in Dushanbe on June 20-22. The statement followed a meeting between Aslov and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, during which the two sides discussed Tajikistan's participation in an anti-drug project as part of its commitments to the security-focused Shanghai Cooperation Organization. - Radio Free Europe

Tajikistan selected to be part of ITC global textiles and clothing program
Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will participate in the four-year Global Textiles and Clothing (GTEX) program financed by the Swiss government and implemented by the International Trade Centre. In Tajikistan, GTEX will attempt to boost textile and clothing exports in order to stimulate employment and income-generating activities. The project will also support local trade and academic institutions to improve operational and administrative capacity. The other three countries taking part are Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. - Asia Plus

Kazakhstan to celebrate horse milk with Kymyz Muryndyk 2018 festival
Kazakhstan will hold a festival in May centered on the drink kumys (fermented mare's milk) as part of a wider campaign to promote traditional culture. Organizers of the festival hope to educate the public about kumys through a scientific conference where nutritional information and locally-developed production technology will be presented. - Astana Times

Russia, Tajikistan waive bilateral restrictions on air connection
Russian and Tajik authorities have resolved a running dispute over rights to flight routes between the two countries. The two sides agreed to increase the number of routes for the summer season and set the stage for further cooperation in the longer term. Passenger traffic between Russia and Tajikistan increased 14 percent in 2017 from the previous year. - Russian Aviation Insider

Publications & Reports
Remittance and growth nexus: bootstrap panel Granger-causality evidence from high remittance receiving countries
H. Ali, S. Law, Z. Yusop (2018). International Journal of Economics and Business Research, 15(3), pp. 312-324.

Transnational migration, gender, and educational development of children in Tajikistan
V. Cebotari (2018). Global Networks, online version before publication.

Institutional factor as a reason for regional asymmetry in agriculture (on the example of Kazakhstan)
A. Danshin (2017). RUDN Journal of Economics, 25(4), pp. 543-442. In Russian.

Spatial distribution of arable and abandoned land across former Soviet Union countries
M. Lesiv et al. (2018). Scientific Data, 5, 2018.

Kazakhstan and the European Union: prospects of cooperation in developing the agro-industrial sector of economy
Y. Moldakenova et al. (2017). Journal of Advanced Research in Law and Economics, 8(6).

The effect of emigration on household labor supply: evidence from Central Asia and South Caucasus
S. Paul (2018). Asian Development Bank Institute. Working paper no. 822.

Events & Call for Papers

New Round of Collaborative Research on Food Security in Eurasia 2018
Call for applications. The Eurasian Center for Food Security and World Bank are announcing collaborative research on the theme of policies aimed at supporting food value chains by (1) improving food quality and nutrition or (2) avoiding food loss. Research will take the form of case studies and selected research teams will receive funding from the World Bank. Please see the above link for further details. Deadline to submit applications is 5 May 2018.

2018 Regional Summer School for Young Economists
Call for applications. 4 – 15 June 2018 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT). The course will largely focus on developing econometric analysis, policy analysis, and quantitative research skills for use in economics and related social sciences. The course is open to individuals who are engaged in research or are preparing for a career in research, are fluent in English, and are 35 years old or younger. Please click on the above link for further details. Deadline to submit applications is 20 April 2018.

"Agriculture Trade and Foreign Investments for Sustainable Regional Integration in Caucasus and Central Asia" Conference
6 – 7 September 2018 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Organized by Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economics (IAMO) and Institute of Scientific Research on Economic Reforms (ISRER). The aim of this conference is to serve as a platform to discuss options for regional integration in the Caucasus and Central Asian countries and to explore opportunities for increasing agricultural exports from the region. Researchers, public officials, and private sector partners are invited to participate. The conference will be conducted in English and Russian. Please click on the above link for further details. Abstract submission is open until 11 May 2018.





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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.