Kyrgyz Grain Farmers Get Cold Feet

Farmers in the northern province of Issykkul are planning to grow a lot less grain this year than they did in 2006.

Kyrgyz Grain Farmers Get Cold Feet

Farmers in the northern province of Issykkul are planning to grow a lot less grain this year than they did in 2006.

Monday, 2 March, 2009
Reporter Rita Nurmambet-Kyzy interviewed farmers who said last year’s yields were disappointing because the growing season was too dry.



In addition, as IWPR reported earlier, they are angry that the government failed to honour a promise to buy up all their crops at the prearranged price of 17 soms per kilogram of wheat. Although the idea was to build up national grain reserves, the authorities backtracked when commercial prices fell, and farmers found themselves unable to dispose of their harvest on the open market even for half that price.



Other factors such as obsolete farm machinery also dampen the prospects for a good year. The head of the Issykkul provincial agriculture department, Joldoshbek Bayseitov, warns that as the planting season approaches, there is only 15 per cent of the tractor fuel that the region’s farmers need in order to get started.



The government’s plan to create grain reserves to offset Kyrgyzstan’s vulnerability to changing world market conditions could now be undermined if cereal farmers switch to raising sheep instead, as many are warning they will do.

Support our journalists