Plateforme de connaissances sur l'agriculture familiale


Kyrgyzstan is located in Central Asia, west of China and south of Kazakhstan. The country's total land area is 199,951 sq km. 96% of its territory – mountainous. Kyrgyzstan’s climate ranges from dry continental in the mountains to subtropical in the southwest valley to temperate in the northern foothills. About three quarters of all poor and four-fifths of the extreme poor live in rural areas. Yet, rural institutions and public services are underdeveloped in many rural areas, and standards for the provision of particularly social services, such as social protection, are lacking. In a country that heavily depends on agriculture and where a majority of the rural residents are women, there is lack of services or access to the existing ones for families, and especially female-headed households.



Agriculture is one of Kyrgyzstan’s most important economic sectors, contributing to approximately 20% of GDP and employing about 30% of the country’s workforce. After independence in 1991, the Kyrgyz Republic implemented a number of rapid market oriented reforms. Successful land-reform policies converted the agricultural sector into an engine for growth during the late 1990s, leading to robust economic expansion. However, growth in agriculture, as well as in overall economy, stagnated in more recent years, and productivity levels are low. A large share of the population still depends on farming for social security reasons rather than as a business activity.

Most of the agricultural production is concentrated in small individual (family) farms (averaging 2.7 ha). In 2007, the individual sector produced 97% of the agricultural output and its share in arable land use was 73% (compared to respectively 44% and 3% in 1991).1

The Kyrgyz Republic is a mountainous country and, in combination with the poor state of the road and railway infrastructure, transport from the producer to the consumer is usually relatively expensive and time-consuming. Storage capacity is inadequate in the country, which has an important negative effect of the quantity and the quality of Kyrgyz agricultural produce. It is estimated that up to 30% of the produce is spoiled before it reaches the market due to inadequate storage.

In general, the country is well-endowed with water resources for irrigation: the water from mountain-top snow and glaciers allow irrigating agricultural land without any significant energy cost. However, water management institutions have weakened, and infrastructure maintenance has in many places come to a standstill; it is estimated that still respectively 56% and 79% of the existing off-farm and on-farm irrigation and drainage systems need rehabilitation.

There have been efforts to adapt farm support services to the needs of small and medium-sized farms, but overall participation rate is relatively low and financial self-sufficiency of the extension provision is questionable. The existing extension services in the country are largely donor financed. There has also been a substantial increase in the amount of crediting (by banks and microfinance organizations; the figure of 2 billion Soms is mentioned (1 US dollar=62 Soms) directed to the agricultural sector. However, the amount of credit provided remains low compared to its share in GDP or employment. The availability of long-term lending is limited, which is reflected in high interest rate spreads.

In general, Kyrgyz farmers are not integrated in modern supply chains and the majority of the food products are distributed through open markets or bazaars (usually unprocessed). The instable macro-economic and political climate, the poor judicial system and the lack of FDI as well as the farm structure (dominance of small farmers) are constraints for the integration in modern supply chains.

Poor animal health and the lack of an effective veterinary service are important factors limiting the development of the livestock sector. Poor animal health not only negatively affects animal productivity, but also poses serious public health risks and limits the country’s export potential. There are also serious concerns with respect to food quality.

Considering the predominantly mountainous, high altitude geography of Kyrgyzstan, and considering the low forest cover (5% of total land), native pasture management is the primary land use (9.2 million ha, 87.3% of the agricultural land, or 44% of total land); with only 6.8% of total land or 11.6% of the agricultural land used for crop cultivation; with a substantial degree of degradation recorded in native pasture land - at 49% of the national total pasture land affected - there are very serious sustainability issues in pasture land management, and large pasture areas carry significant responsibility for landscape and watershed management;

Considering the high proportion of the livestock sector in the overall net production value of agriculture (56.2% in 2000, 57.3% in 2011), the sector provides roughly half the contribution of agriculture to overall GDP; this figure does account only for the sector’s food, wool and hides & skin commodities, and it omits the important non-food functions and services of the sector (farm assets and animal power for transport of goods and people, and manure for crop fertilization and for fuel).

In estimation, the number of small family farms is around 1 mln. In Kyrgyzstan, more accurate data will be available in the end of 2016 when results of agriculture census will be available. No Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on family farming was developed during the independence.

1 Kyrgyz Agricultural Investment Forum, Bishkek, 28-29 September 2011.  


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