IFPRI Central Asia Weekly News Digest (June 27 – July 3, 2018)


by Jarilkasin Ilyasov | July 4, 2018

Investments in food production rise in Kazakhstan
Investments in food production have reached 38.2 billion tenge ($112 million) in the first five months of 2018, representing a doubling from last year's figure over the same period. Most investments were directed to the Almaty (31.3 percent of total investment) and Kostanay (14.9 percent) regions. - AzerNews

Tajik president speaks on poverty level decrease in country
Tajikistan's president Emomali Rahmon announced that the poverty level in Tajikistan decreased 1.3 percentage points to 29.7 percent between 2015 and 2017. Rahmon pointed to a high economic growth rate and increases in social sector expenditures as reasons for the improvement. - Trend News Agency

Rare pear expedition bears fruit in Kyrgyzstan
Discovery of a population of one of the world's most endangered trees, the Bukharan pear, has been confirmed in Kyrgyzstan's Bazar-Korgon region. The wild forests of Central Asia are believed to have originated many common fruits and nuts and are therefore considered a crucial genetic reservoir, especially as diseases afflict domesticated varieties worldwide. However, these trees themselves face threats from overgrazing, firewood collection, and unsustainable harvesting. - Phys.org

Russia extends blockade on Ukraine goods headed to Central Asia
Russia has renewed an embargo on Ukrainian goods transiting through its territory, which will continue through the beginning of 2019. The original embargo was enacted in 2016 and prevented Ukrainian food products from entering Russia, with additional transit restrictions imposed later. The embargo has directly affected Ukrainian exports to Central Asia, which had been the destination of 4 percent of Ukraine's agricultural exports when it was first applied. Although an alternate route exists through the Caucasus and Caspian Sea, that option is considered expensive and time-consuming. - EurasiaNet

Istanbul meeting set to fight animal disease in Asia
Experts from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were on hand at a conference on transboundary animal diseases in Istanbul on June 27 and 28. The meeting also included participants from Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan and was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). - Anadolu News Agency, AKIPress

Analysis & Related Information

Russia ringfenced as old empire's currencies thrive
The Russian ruble is being outperformed by other currencies in the former Soviet republic, down 9 percent against the dollar in 2018. Sanctions imposed by the U.S. in April are partly accountable: the Central Bank of Russia estimates that the ruble could have been 4 percent stronger otherwise. While many CIS countries are closely linked to Russia because of remittances and trade, analysts quoted in the article believe that countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan may actually benefit from investors looking to diversify away from Russia, though attracting them would require reform and liberalization. - Bloomberg

How the China-U.S. trade row might pave the way for the soybean Silk Road
Ongoing trade disputes with the United States are compelling China to look to its west to diversify its soybean sources. Russian soybean exports to China have skyrocketed in the past year, but experts believe that current production capacity is not sufficient to supplant American soybeans altogether. Kazakhstan only began exporting a small amount of soybeans to China in 2017. Although Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan account for less than 1 percent of total soybean exports, investments associated with the Belt and Road Initiative could speed up the sector's development. - South China Morning Post

What stands in the way of Tajikistan's development? Basically everything
This analytical piece in The Diplomat attempts to assess a new World Bank report on Tajikistan's National Development Strategy 2030 (NDS 2030) that was released in 2016. According to the report, the NDS 2030 will require $118 billion and also assumes the successful completion of the Rogun Dam. The author goes on to name some of the obstacles Tajikistan faces in its bid to implement NDS 2030, including governance. - The Diplomat

Publications & Reports

Steering the poverty-environment nexus in Central Asia: a metagovernance analysis of the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI)
S. Challe, S. Christopoulos, M. Kull, L. Meuleman (2018). Development Policy Review, 36(4), July 2018, pp. 409-431.

Spatial structure of the relationships of annual precipitation amounts in Siberia and Kazakhstan
A. Ignatov, O. Osipova, A. Balybina (2018). Geography and Natural Resources, 39(2), pp. 148-152.

Discrepancies between paper and practice in policy implementation: Tajikistan's property rights and customary claims to land and water
F. Klumper, I. Theesfeld, T. Herzfeld (2018). Land Use Policy, 75, June 2018, pp. 327-339.

Opening up in the Caucasus and Central Asia: policy frameworks to support regional and global integration
P. Kunzel et al. (2018). International Monetary Fund. No. 18/07.

Eurasian Economic Union integration as adaptation effect in agro-food trade
S. Siptits, I. Romanenko, N. Evdokimova (2018). International Agricultural Journal, 61(2), pp. 61-68.

Making the National Development Strategy 2030 a success: building the foundation for shared prosperity
World Bank Group (2018). Tajikistan Systematic Country Diagnostic, Report No. 126209-TJ.

Events & Call for Papers

Annual Life in Kyrgyzstan Conference
Annual conference and call for papers. 17-18 October 2018 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The University of Central Asia's (UCA) Institute of Public Policy and Administration, International Security and Development Center (ISDC), and the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ) are organizing the fourth annual Life in Kyrgyzstan Conference. Organizers are accepting proposals for sessions and/or presentations of papers. Please click on the above link or contact likconference2018@gmail.com for additional details. Deadline for proposals is 30 June 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.





Archived issues of the news digest can be found on the Central Asia page under the ReSAKSS Asia website: http://resakss-asia.org/regions/central-asia.  A link to the newsletter can be found under Blog Posts.

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.