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Gender and Land Rights Database


In 2014, the estimated population was 8.4 million, out of which 49.8 percent were female and 50.2 percent were male. In the same year, an estimated 6,164,431 people lived in rural areas (1).

In 2014, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated at US$9.2 billion and GDP per capita was estimated at US$1,099 (1). Since 2000, the country attained real GDP annual growth rates of 7–9 percent; the average annual growth rate reached 6 percent in 2014 (2). Agriculture accounted for 22 percent of GDP in 2011 (1) and employed 806 000 people (4), which was 31 percent of the total labour force (2). In 2004, cotton lint represented 79.2 percent of agricultural exports (2). The country’s total surface area is 143 100 square kilometres and in 2012, there were 48,750 square kilometres of agricultural land (1). However, due to the country’s mountainous topography covering 93 percent of its territory, only 21.9 percent of agricultural land and 6.1 percent of the total surface area is arable (1).

In 2013, with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.607, the country ranked 133rd out of 187 countries measured (3). Economic growth has been accompanied by a substantial reduction in the percentage of the population living below the US$2.15 per day poverty line, which dropped from 81 percent in 1999 to 47.2 percent in 2009 (4). In the same year, the percentage of the population living below US$1 per day was 6.5 percent (4). In 2013, the undernourished population was estimated at 32 percent of the total (1). The greatest concentration of vulnerable households is in the rural areas (8). More specifically, in the Khatlon and Sughd regions, which produce 85 percent of the country’s cotton and are home to 65 percent of the country’s population, 76 percent of the population consists of vulnerable and landless households in 2006 (3). The adult literacy rate in 2015 was 99.8 percent for males and 99.7 percent for females (2). Life expectancy at birth in 2013 was estimated at 68 years for males and 70 years for females (5).

The female labour force was 60 percent of the total female population in 2013 (6). In 2005, 424 million women were engaged in agriculture compared with 382 million men (1). Despite their significant involvement in planting and harvesting, women’s labour still tends to be limited to seasonal, unskilled and poorly paid jobs, especially in areas with high out-migration by men or in areas where the number of war widows is high (12). Moreover, women’s incomes are 60 percent of men’s incomes in 2005 (13). As a result of the 1992–1997 civil war, the number of households headed by women grew. According to estimates, roughly 20 000 women were widowed during that period. In some regions, households headed by women accounted for 40 percent of the total number of households (10).

In 2005, under the Government’s land reform, around 23 300 state agricultural enterprises from the Soviet era were reorganized into privately-owned dehkan farms in three categories: individual, family or collective dehkan associations (12). The share of land cultivated by private farmers increased to almost 60 percent (14). The Government also granted to thousands of mainly rural households temporary use of small plots on 75 000 hectares of so-called presidential lands. However, private ownership of land is still not permitted. Indeed, the Constitution states that all land “is in exclusive ownership of the state which guarantees its effective use in the interests of the people”. Nevertheless, the dehkan farms have a land-use right in the form of lifelong inheritable holdings (15). While farm reorganization has been emphasized, land reform has not included considerable changes in the distribution of land rights to individuals. Indeed, the registration of transactions and other changes occurring on presidential and household land, which provide the most food security for individual households, have not been maintained, making the land-use right insecure (16).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography