IFPRI Central Asia Weekly News Digest (May 27 – June 2, 2020)


by Jarilkasin Ilyasov | June 3, 2020

ADB $100 Million Loan to Mitigate Adverse Health, Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Georgia
This week, the Asian Development Bank approved a $100 million loan to assist Georgia in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and negative economic impacts. The funds will especially contribute to social assistance measures, including temporary payments for 350,000 formal sector workers, 250,000 informal/self-employed workers, subsidized utility bills for 1.2 million families, and a six month price freeze on certain key food products. The funds will also allow for free access to diagnostic and treatment services. - ADB

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan agree to reduce railway tariffs by 50 percent
The Governments of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have agreed to reduce tariffs for railway transportation by 50% to improve trade efficiency within the Eurasian Economic Union. In addition, the parties are working on reducing tariffs in Afghanistan. - kun.uz

Kazakhstan Joins United Nations Development Programme on Preserving Biodiversity
Kazakhstan is the latest country to join the United Nations Development Programme's Mapping Nature for People and Planet project, which seeks to apply spatial data and analysis to conservation efforts. Specifically, the project will work to identify Kazakhstan's essential life support areas (areas that contain critical diversity and provide humans with essential ecosystem services) in order to identify where environmental protection, restoration, and sustainable management can allow the country to achieve various policy targets. - The Astana Times

The World Bank's lead agricultural economist encourages Kazahkstan to avoid agricultural export restrictions to ensure food security
Kazakhstan was one of the first countries to implement food export restrictions due to COVID-19, and that decision has been met with some criticism. Sergiy Zorya, lead economist on agriculture at the World Bank, stated that Kazakhstan's decision has had a negative impact on neighboring countries which depend on imports of the restricted products. He also expressed that such restrictions can damage regional cooperation and trade in the future. He emphasized that as the pandemic subsides, Central Asian countries should focus on restoring agricultural trade in the region. On a positive note, Zorya praised Central Asian countries' and regional goverments' various actions to strengthen food security. - kursiv.kz

Analysis & Related Information
COVID-19 Analyses: IFPRI Blogs
IFPRI is facilitating an ongoing blog series to discuss COVID-19 as it relates to food security and development at the global, regional, and country levels. Though some concern specific countries, the insights are applicable to others as the world collectively experiences the impacts of the pandemic.

IFPRI Virtual Events
IFPRI has been hosting virtual events to discuss various issues related to food and agriculture policy. Videos like this will periodically be posted publicly after being streamed live, and will include presentations from researchers, discussion between researchers, and Q&A. This week's seminar discusses food security during COVID-19 in Latin America and the Carribean, and will be in Spanish with English subtitles.

Discussion on the Implications of the 2020 Global Food Policy Report for Eurasia
This week, a seminar was hosted by IFPRI, the World Bank, Westminster International University in Tashkent, and the Eurasian Center for Food Security at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Researchers from the aforementioned institutions discussed IFPRI's 2020 Global Food Policy Report as it relates to the Eurasia. The full video can be found in the link. These institutions will continue to host a weekly seminar on agricultural/food policy (more detailed information can be found in the Events section).

Publications & Reports
Competitiveness or Complementarity? A Dynamic Network Analysis of International Agri-Trade along the Belt and Road
Liu, C. et al. 2019. Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, Vol. 13. pp. 349-374.

Export price shocks and rural labor markets: The role of labor market distortions
Danzer, A., Grundke, R. 2020. Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 145.

Modelling soil erodibility in mountain rangelands of southern Kyrgyzstan
Kulikov, M. et al. 2020. Pedosphere, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 443-456.

Simulating Crop Productivity in a Triple Rotation in the Semi-arid Area of the Aral Sea Basin
Ibragimov, N. et al. 2019. International Journal of Plant Production, Vol. 14, pp. 273-285

Spatial-temporal assessment of agricultural virtual water and uncertainty analysis: The case of Kazakhstan (2000–2016)
Dink, Y.K. et al. 2020. Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 724. Early Online Version.

Useful Links & Commentaries on Research Methods, Data & Publications
Introduction to Small Area Estimation Techniques: A Practical Guide for National Statistics Offices
ADB Publication. 2020. Manila, Philippines: Asian Development Bank

Events & Announcements
Virtual Seminars on Applied Economics and Policy Analysis in Central Asia
IFPRI, Westminster International University in Tashkent, and the Lebniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) will continue to host weekly seminars on topics related to applied economics and policy analysis in Central Asia. They will take place on Wednesdays, at 7:30am EST, 2:30pm Moscow, 4:30pm Dushanbe & Tashkent, 5:30pm Bishkek & Almaty. For subscribers, registration information will be sent on the Monday before each webinar. For more information and to subscribe, visit the link.

Webinars on Bridging Research and Policy Responses to COVID-19: IFAD, FAO, WFP, ICABR, World Bank, IFPRI, IAAE-ICWAE
On June 12 and 19, at 5pm CSET, the researchers and practitioners from various institutions, including the organizations mentioned in the title, will be hosting webinars to discuss research and policy responses for challenges resulting from COVID-19. Specifically, the presenters will discuss food security in the wake of COVID-19 within a variety of contexts, including rural development, natural disasters, food systems, and more. Please visit the link to register.

Virtual AFE Seminar Series
A virtual seminar series organized by John List of the University of Chicago Department of Economics and Robert Metcalfe of Boston University's School of Business is being hosted weekly on Zoom. Each seminar will include a research paper presentation and Q&A, starting at 12pm EST on Wednesdays. Follow the link to view the full schedule of presenters and to sign up for invitations to the live seminar. Presentations will also by uploaded to a YouTube playlist.

Online Agriculture and Resource Economics Seminar
Dr. Marc F. Bellemare and PhD candidate Jeff Bloem will be hosting a weekly (Wednesdays, 11am CST) online seminar to discuss various research topics related to agricultural economics, nutrition, and food security. For example, the next seminar on June 3 includes a presentation of the paper, "Misperceived Quality: Fertilizer in Tanzania" by Hope Michelson. Follow the link for registration information and a schedule of upcoming seminars.

Development Policy and COVID-19: eSeminar Series
The World Bank's Development Research Group is hosting an online seminar series for discussions on development policy as it relates to COVID-19. The seminars are completely public, do not require an application or sign-up, and will continue for the foreseeable future.



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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.