IFPRI Central Asia Weekly News Digest (May 2 – May 8, 2018)


by Jarilkasin Ilyasov | May 11, 2018

Uzbekistan implements the IMF's Enhanced General Data Dissemination System
Uzbekistan is now publishing critical macroeconomic and financial data through its National Summary Data Page, following the recommendations of the IMF's Enhanced General Data Dissemination System (e-GDDS). The webpage aims to be a one-stop platform for essential macroeconomic data and is housed on the State Statistics Committee's website. - IMF, State Statistics Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Turkmenistan seeks to tap into east-west cargo flows with new seaport
On May 2, Turkmenistan opened a $1.5 billion cargo and passenger seaport in the Caspian seaside city of Turkmenbashi. The government claims the new port will more than triple national cargo-handling capacity. Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said that Turkmenistan is ready to discuss the use of the seaport with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Turkmenistan has a railway link with China through Kazakhstan, which could help it capture a share of cargo flows moving between China, the Middle East, and Europe. - Reuters

Procurement prices for kidney beans decline in Kyrgyzstan
Head of the Food Security and Agro-Marketing Department of the Ministry of Agriculture Anarkul Bekkuliyeva discussed the declining prices of kidney beans at press conference on May 4. She blamed monopolists for dictating prices but added that Kyrgyz producers are liable to a competitive global market. Chairman of the Association of Bean Growers Emir Parpiev noted that prices for certain types of kidney beans have halved in the past year. - News Agency 24

Kyrgyz government and WFP team up to improve food security and nutrition
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the government of Kyrgyzstan signed a five-year memorandum of understanding to scale up ongoing efforts on food security and nutrition. WFP's country strategic plan will require funds totaling approximately $60 million, which will help expand its school meals program, rehabilitate and equip rural schools, improve agricultural infrastructure, and strengthen disaster mitigation. - WFP

Kyrgyz prime minister discusses draft laws on land transformation
According to Kyrgyz prime minister Mukhammedaly Abylgaziev, the incomplete process of land transformation has generated problems that have gone unresolved for over 25 years. He stated that citizens who built houses on agricultural land have been unable to secure proper legal documentation for their property and in many cases have been deprived of access to public services as a result. Abylgaziev also warned that certain parties have managed to officially register large amounts of agricultural land as a vehicle to make money. These remarks came at a meeting to discuss draft laws on the transformation of irrigated arable lands into other land-use types. - News Agency 24

Analysis & Related Information

China's Belt and Road gets a Central Asian boost
The authors of this article from the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs argue that the ongoing reforms in Uzbekistan will aid the development of China's Belt and Road Initiative. They claim that Uzbekistan's recent diplomatic overtures are particularly well-aligned with Chinese interests in expanding the BRI. - The Diplomat

Kazakhstan must look beyond the Belt and Road
According to this opinion piece by Philippe Le Corre, a fellow at several U.S. thinktanks, Kazakh leaders should emulate their citizens' wariness over the increasing Chinese presence in the country. He gives a nod to Russia's political and cultural ties but believes the European Union can also play a stronger role as a strategic counterbalance, citing the latter's financial resources and lack of historical baggage with Kazakhstan. Le Corre concludes by acknowledging that ordinary Kazakh citizens will ultimately benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative but adds that a stronger multilateral presence will help ease their underlying anxieties over Chinese influence. - Nikkei Asian Review

Kazakhstan is Central Asia's migration outlier
Kazakhstan is the only Central Asian country claiming a net inflow of migrants, in a sharp reversal of trends from the early 2000s. Between 1991 and 2004, 2 million people (roughly 13 percent of the population at independence) emigrated from Kazakhstan, many of whom were ethnic Slavs that moved to Russia or other Slavic countries. In recent years, Kazakhstan has increasingly become an attractive destination for labor migrants from other parts of Central Asia. According to one migration expert cited in the article, the relatively small number of Kazakhs who go abroad today tend to be highly qualified workers pursuing higher salaries or education. - EurasiaNet

Sustainable management of natural resources helps Tajik communities adapt to climate change
The World Bank launched the Environmental Land Management and Rural Livelihoods Project in 2013,  helping rural communities adopt sustainable land and natural resource management practices. Several examples of activities supported by this project are included in this article and range from livestock breeding to apiary development. - World Bank

Turkmenistan says one thing, does another
This analytical piece appearing on EurasiaNet focuses on the discrepancies between official statistics and reality in Turkmenistan. The author references several incidents in which government officials were reprimanded or removed because of poor job performance despite seemingly favorable statistics. On a related note, the author reports that construction on a major national highway is lagging and suggests that it is related to water shortages in Turkmenistan's northernmost province, home to the country's asphalt plants and a major population center. - EurasiaNet

Publications & Reports

Household remoteness and patterns of food production and consumption in Tajikistan
H. Anderson et al. (2018). International Journal of Agricultural Extension, 6(1), 2018, pp. 7-16.

Teaching economics across cultures: challenges and lessons learned in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
B. Coffey (2018). Intercultural Education, forthcoming publication.

Labor market integration of returned educational migrants in Turkmenistan
E. Hofmann (2018). Post-Soviet Affairs, 34(1), 2018, pp. 1-16.

Forecast of demographic process in Russia and in countries of Central and Eastern Asia in the 21st century
A. Manakov, P. Suvorkov (2018). Geography and Natural Resources, 39(1), 2018, pp. 16-22.

Agricultural assistance to vulnerable, food-insecure female-headed households in Kyrgyzstan
M. Nurgaziev, I. Jordan (2018). World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics, 118, 2018.

Where is Uzbekistan's trade and where should it be directed: gravity analyses for being doubly landlocked
J. Oh, B. Yuldashev, S. Moon (2017). International Area Studies Review, 21(1), pp. 68-84.

Sustainability and long-term impact of community-managed water supply in rural Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia
C. Wardle, N. Zakiriaeva (2018). Waterlines, 37(2).

Events & Call for Papers

3rd Annual International Conference on Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition in Eurasia Featuring IFPRI's 2018 Global Food Policy Report
International conference and publication launch. 30 May 2018 in Moscow, Russia. The International Food Policy Research Institute is partnering with the Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS) at Lomonosov Moscow State University and the World Bank to launch IFPRI's 2018 Global Food Policy Report in Russia. For more information about the report, please visit the GFPR website. For conference details, please contact Jarilkasin Ilyasov at IFPRI.

International Conference on Agricultural Transformation, Food Security, and Nutrition in Central Asia Featuring IFPRI's 2018 Global Food Policy Report
International conference and publication launch. 1 June 2018 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The International Food Policy Research Institute is partnering with the Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT) to launch IFPRI's 2018 Global Food Policy Report in Uzbekistan. For more information about the report, please visit the GFPR website. For conference details, please contact Jarilkasin Ilyasov at IFPRI.

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.

"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.

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 was 20 April 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.