On SAGE Insight: Modernizing Agriculture in Central Asia

From Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies

By 2050, Central Asia will have a productive, sustainable agricultural sector based on comparative advantage. Action will have been taken to significantly reduce the high trade costs in terms of money, time, and uncertainty that characterized the landlocked region at the start of the twenty-first century and inhibited the =-eation of modern supply chains.

In this vision, agriculture will have responded to increased demand for more and better quality food as population grew and to the increased wages that will have changed capital intensity in agriculture. Educated farmers will be making decisions about output mix, production techniques, and marketing within an institutional setting that facilitates and rewards entrepreneurship. Water will have been efficiently allocated to reflect its scarcity, and trade flows within and beyond the region will be unhindered. While the rural population share will have dropped substantially, people’s lives in rural areas will be much improved, absolute poverty will have been eliminated, and everyone will have access to education and health services, to clean water and sanitation, and to efficient transport and communication.

This article analyzes the prospects for agriculture and makes recommendations about what is needed to achieve the aspirational vision. The article also addresses the major challenges such as efficient water use and cooperation in managing the region’s water resources, the impact of climate change, and rural development.

Abstract

This article analyzes the prospects for agriculture in Central Asia up till 2050 and makes recommendations about what is needed to achieve the aspirational vision. Geography and climate favor two major export crops, cotton in the south and wheat in the north, but a pressing issue is the appropriate amount of area to be devoted to these crops and how to produce them efficiently; the answer will change as technological improvements are adopted, wages increase, and capital is substituted for labor, and as the water situation is affected by climate change and other factors. The traditional livestock sector that shrank drastically after 1991 could revive as incomes increase and diets change, and niche products could also be developed. The article is structured around these four subsectors (cotton, wheat, livestock, and niche products), but also recognizes the influence of national policies toward land, water, and rural development.

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Article details

Richard Pomfret
Modernizing Agriculture in Central Asia
Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies May 2016 8: 104-125, first published on March 22, 2016 doi:10.1177/0974910116634491

 

     
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