IFPRI Central Asia Weekly News Digest (May 9 – May 15, 2018)


by Jarilkasin Ilyasov | May 16, 2018

IMF statement following mission to Uzbekistan
The International Monetary Fund released a statement following a consultative visit to Uzbekistan. According to the IMF, Uzbekistan needs comprehensive tax reform and tightened fiscal and monetary policies to follow up on its efforts to liberalize the economy. The Uzbek government is considering further reforms including restructuring state enterprises in the coming year. - IMF

Data on Uzbekistan's foreign trade turnover disclosed
Uzbekistan recorded an increase in trade turnover across a number of product categories in the first fourth months of this year compared to the same period in 2017. The volume of food exports increased by 41.6 percent while the export of fruit and vegetable products increased 41.9 percent. Exports of energy carriers and petroleum products and imports of machinery and equipment also saw large increases over this time. - AzerNews

New brand of agricultural machinery to appear in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan may produce agricultural machinery domestically in the future to address the country's shortage of modern equipment. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev instructed a number of government ministries and holding firm Uzagrotehsanoatholding JSC to begin developing a concept for a domestic agricultural machinery brand. - AzerNews

Uzbekistan: coming to America
Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev will begin a three-day official visit to the United States starting today. In addition to meetings at the White House, Mirziyoyev will also meet with a number of U.S. federal agencies and the World Bank. One analyst quoted in the article believes that Mirziyoyev is seeking assurances and financial support for the modernization of the Uzbek economy. Presidential press secretary Komil Allamjonov told media that the visit may produce 40 commercial agreements worth a total of $8.5 billion. - EurasiaNet

Belarus offers to launch joint food-processing ventures with Tajikistan
The Belarusian agriculture minister Leonid Zayats sees potential for cooperation with Tajikistan in launching joint agro-industrial projects. Speaking at a business forum on the sidelines of an official visit by the president of Belarus to Tajikistan, Zayats suggested that Tajikistan can host meat and dairy-processing ventures that can supply regional markets. A factory assembling Belariusian equipment is currently in operation in Hisor. According to another member of the Belarusian delegation, although Tajikistan itself is a small market, it is well-positioned to serve as a stepping stone to Afghanistan, where demand for machinery is growing. - Asia-Plus

Afghan investors can use Uzbekistan's facilities for exports
Afghanistan's agriculture minister Nasir Ahmad Durani told Afghan fruit and vegetable exporters to use Uzbekistan's cold storage and packaging facilities while his country builds its own. Durani pledged the Afghan government's support for exporters by working with their Uzbek counterparts to ensure this arrangement. According to the head of one NGO, Kazakhstan can become an attractive destination for Afghan horticultural products and could further unlock opportunities in Russia and Ukraine. - TOLOnews

Analysis & Related Information

Dueling Caspian ports
On May 2, Turkmenistan opened a $1.5 billion port in the Caspian seaside town of Turkmenbashi in a bid to attract a larger share of the east-west trade between China and Europe. The author of this article believes, however, that Turkmenistan will struggle to realize this goal, due in large part to the country's perceived isolationist tendencies. Turkmenistan is also at a disadvantage to its main competitor Kazakhstan, which has been increasing the cargo handling capacity of its own Caspian ports at Aktau and Kuryk. In addition, Kazakhstan has outpaced Turkmenistan in terms of outreach to Uzbekistan, which is landlocked but interested in opening trade routes through the Caspian. - Radio Free Europe

Uzbekistan, Tajikistan resume bus connection after 26-year break
Regular bus services between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan resumed today after being discontinued in 1992 with the outbreak of Tajikistan's civil war. The Tashkent-Khujand route will take 4.5 hours, cost 50,000 Uzbek soms (approximately $6), and cover 174 kilometers. Uzbekistan's road transport agency declared that priority border crossings will take half an hour. Bus connections between Uzbekistan and its neighbors Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan also resumed this year, which had been likewise shuttered since the 1990s. - AzerNews

How will Erdogan's recent visit to Uzbekistan enhance Turkish-Uzbek cooperation
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Uzbekistan in early May in what was seen as a step toward reconciliation between the two countries. While relations between Turkey and Uzbekistan blossomed during the 1990s, they deteriorated in the ensuing decades due to a series of political and ideological disputes. During Erdogan's latest visit, the two sides signed 23 agreements on cooperation on a range of spheres, including one on labor migration that could benefit Uzbek laborers as employment laws in Russia become more restrictive. In addition, investments worth over $3 billion are expected to be agreed upon at an upcoming Uzbek-Turkish business forum. - The Diplomat

Publications & Reports

Mapping the timing of cropland abandonment and re-cultivation in northern Kazakhstan using annual Landsat time series
A. Dara et al. (2018). Remote Sensing of Environment, 213, August 2018, pp. 49-60.

Mapping cropland abandonment in the Aral Sea basin with MODIS
F. Low et al. (2018). Remote Sensing, 10(2).

Sustainable land management in greater Central Asia
V. Squires, L. Qi (editors, 2018). Routledge: Abingdon.

Changing the law on state benefits: the impact of lifting the Monthly Benefit for Poor Families in the Kyrgyz Republic
World Food Programme (2018). Report. May 2018.

Tajikistan: Safety Nets Alert Platform (SNAP) Country Dashboard
World Food Programme (2018). Infographic. March 2018.

Turkmenistan water resources policy in Central Asia
I. Zonn, A. Kostianoy, T. Lokteva, V. Shtol (2018). The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg. Book chapter.

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.