Chronicles 2017: Agricultural Complex

Photo: Yuri Shkurin

Comprehensive system of state support of agricultural complex has been elaborated and successfully operates in Turkmenistan. Investments to the modernization of the infrastructure, technical rearmament of agricultural complex and service branches including the construction of agricultural production facilities and fertilizer production plants are the main elements of such system. Big finances are allocated for irrigation and land reclamation, development of seed breeding, science and selection, introduction of advanced resource saving technologies and advanced scientific and technical developments.

At the same time, it is not only production but social infrastructure as well that received new impulse for the development since National Programme on improvement of social and living conditions of the population of villages, settlements, towns and etrap centres has started. Living of rural residents is getting better every year and their material wealth is improved. Life of rural citizens is coming closer to the city by level and quality.

Government subsidiaries and tax benefits serve as actual stimulus for agricultural producers. In particular, minimum payment for the land is set for the agrarians and they are released from tax payments. Farmers and their associations are provided with equipment, seeding material, fertilizers, irrigation water and other services on beneficial terms.

Besides, beneficial crediting system of agricultural projects is widely implemented. Ministries, departments, organizations and entities, members of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs as well as farmers associations are allocated with land for such projects.

In March of the last year, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed the Resolution, according to which the banks are allowed granting beneficial credits to farmers associations and entities, agricultural joints stock ventures, profile scientific and research institutes, leasers, entrepreneurs and other agricultural producers who are not legal entities related to the state.

These credits are granted for procurement of agricultural equipment, spare parts and tools, water saving equipment, pipes for irrigation for 10 years with 1 percent interest. Beneficial 10 year credits with 5 percent interest are granted for the realization of investment projects on development of livestock and poultry breeding, processing and services as well as for procurement of properties.

The growth of basic indicators has been observed in agriculture for number of years. In 2017, the growth of production, works and services in agricultural complex was 103.8 percent. Comparing with the same period of 2016, the volumes of flour production increased on 4.2 percent, pasta on 5.3 percent, meat on 1.1 percent, eggs on 7 percent, melons and watermelons on 4.2 percent, fruits and vegetables on 1.1 percent.

Last year, the farmers produced more than 1 million tons of selected wheat and more than 1 million 100 thousand tons of cotton. Sowing of winter crops has been timely accomplished, having made good basis for future harvest. Land under grain crops occupied 760 thousand hectares, which are planned to produce 1 million 600 thousand tons of grain including 450 000 in Ahal Velayat, 380 000 in Mary Velayat, 350 000 in Lebap velayat, 300 000 in Dashoguz Velayat and 120 000 tons in Balkan Velayat.

Modern equipment used in the fields during wheat and cotton harvesting and sowing campaign like wheat harvesters «John Deere W540» and «TUCANO 430» («CLAAS»), cotton harvesters «John Deere 9970», ploughing machines «John Deere 8245R», multi-purpose tractors «AXOS 340 CX» («CLAAS») and other were considerable help for the agrarians.

It is worth reminding that according to the Resolution of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed in December 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Management signed the contracts with «Umax Trade GmbH» (Germany) and «John Deere International GmbH» (Switzerland) on procurement of large consignments of agricultural equipment, ploughs, seed drills, dredgers as well as spare parts and consumable materials for such equipment on the terms of delivery to Turkmenistan in three phases in 2017 – 2020. In addition, 500 cotton harvester «MX-1,8» made by Tashkent Agriculture Equipment Factory were purchased from Uzbekistan.

High mechanization and automation of work are the key aspects of the improvement of efficiency of agricultural production and life quality of farmers. Targeted measures in this sphere allowed raising the prestige of working specialities in agriculture, attracting young specialists and improving the occupancy of the population.

Virgin lands are developed in all velayats of the country today. Along with wheat and cotton, lands for growing of potato, beetroot, rice, corn, pea, sesame, barley, millet, other vegetables and grains are allocated new fruit gardens and vineyards are planted. All of these require permanent improvement of technical provision of agriculture and contributes to the demand on modern equipment, mechanization and automation means of certain technology processes. Taking into account multidimensional character of agrarian sector of Turkmenistan, the farmers need dozens of various types of agricultural equipment and machinery.

Solving the issues of engineering and technical provision of agricultural complex on innovative basis, procuring the equipment of latest modifications with improved operational features, the State makes the conditions for stable growth of agricultural production volumes including by completion of field works in optimum time on high level. Large attention is paid to the subjects of production rates and professional qualification of the farmers and to the improvement their work conditions.

Silk producers of the country achieved great success in the last year having delivered around 2 thousand 40 tons of silk cocoons. National silk industry improves its competiveness in the conditions of transit of national economy to market relations. Work of all links of silk production, starting from growing of mulberry trees, feeding of caterpillars to production of cocoons and row silk and ready-made items thereafter, has been arranged according with time requirements.

Representatives of private sector of the economy are actively integrated to agrarian business, realization of State programme for import substitutive production and increment of export production made in Turkmenistan. The companies of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs made agricultural and food production to the amount of 287.2 million manats last year. This is 73.7 percent more than in 2016.

For the last few years, large flour mills, livestock, poultry and hothouse complexes based on the most advanced practice and progressive technologies have been built in the velayats. Dozens of agricultural processing facilities making high quality food products from natural ingredients have been built under state and private partnership. The work in this direction is continued.

For example, last year, new hothouse facility has been opened in Dovletly Farmers Association in Dashoguz Velayat. This big complex was built by Altyn Gala Gurlushyk Private entity, the member of the UIET.

Modern refrigeration warehouse for storage of 3 thousand tons of fruits and vegetables was put into operation in Mary. It was built by the request of the State Food Industry Association by the specialists of local company and provided with specialized equipment from the leading manufacturers of Germany, Holland and Turkey.

Three automated lines for separation and packing of products were installed at the facility. All warehouses are equipped with shelves and special containers for storage of fruits and vegetables. Different capacity forklifts and refrigerator trucks are available for loading and shipment of the goods to the customers.

The complex also has administration building with modern technical amenities where “Miwe” Agricultural Industrial Association was accommodated. There is also laboratory for inspection of quality of fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to the facility and shipped thereafter to shopping centres.

Contest for the best etrap or town with the rights of etrap are held annually in the velayat. The main criteria defining the winner are yearly social, economic and cultural indices. Vekilbazar etrap of Mary Velayat was the winner in 2017. By the order of the Head of the State, the Administration of this etrap was awarded with 1 million US dollars.

National Parliament adopted number of important regulatory and legal documents. It includes the Law on Amendments and Addendums of the Code of Turkmenistan on Land. Particularly, this document has laid legal basis for granting of land to long-term lease to the farmers who provided the fulfilment of contractual obligations on growing of agricultural crops within five years according to the State order and for establishment of agricultural joint ventures. In general, all of these will support the formation of the class of private land users and landlords as well as strong farmers associations and entities.

Besides, national legislation was supplemented with the Laws of Turkmenistan on State Land Cadastre, on Grain Growing, on Cotton Growing, on Harvesting, Storage and Rational Use of Genetic Resources of Cultural Plants, on Ecological Safety.

New Water Code of Turkmenistan, which is another important step in successful realization of rational use and careful protection of water resources of the country and improvement of efficiency of irrigation farming as important factor of dynamic development of agricultural production, came into force from January 1, 2017. Recently, big work has been done in this sphere. Water saving technologies are introduced all around the country, new and existing water reserve pools that are to improve the provision of the country with water resources and accumulation of water reserves are built and increased accordingly.

Large investment projects are realized under the Programme of provision of the settlements in Turkmenistan with pure drinking water and the Programmes of rational use of water resources and improvement of water throughput capacity of Karakum River in 2015 – 2020.

Thus, water treatment facilities complex was put into operation last year in Charjew etrap, Lebap Velayat. Project capacity of the facility is 30 thousand cu. m. per day. Technological features of the complex stipulates multiple treatment, sedimentation, filtering and sanitization of water. All processes are controlled by computer system. The facility is equipped with dozens of modern pump units, filters, energy, laboratory and other hardware and instruments for the leading manufacturers of USA and Germany.

At present time, the second phase of Altyn Asyr Turkmen Lake – the largest hydro technical facility, is under rapid construction. Owing to proper functioning of drainage collectors, salinized water from the fields of the country run to the lake what reduces the level of ground waters and as the result improves the soil condition and production of agricultural crops and enrichment of flora and fauna.

Moreover, creation of man-made lake in the centre of the Karakums is positive factor in the context of environment protection supporting the improvement of ecological situation in our country and in the region.

Important objectives are solved under the realization of National Forest Programme on creation of green massifs around the capital and settlements in all velayats, protection forest bands around agricultural fields, restoration of mountain juniper and desert saxaul and coastal fluvial forests.

Ashgabat is called as garden city today; it pleases the eyes with freshness and splendour of green plantations and living fountain streams even in hot summer days. Beautiful pine, cypress, poplar groves as well as bright flower carpets became integral part of the landscape of the capital’s outskirts. Areas occupied by juniper, coniferous and deciduous trees are expanded in the Kopetdag foothills. Mainly to this, increment of number of various birds and animals, which includes the species listed in the Red Book of Turkmensitan, is observed there recently. Man-made oases of young forests, gardens and parks spread around tens of thousands hectares in all even remote parts of the country. Totally, 3 million tree and grape seeding have been planted during greening campaign in 2017.

International cooperation in natural protection sphere is one of the key aspects of foreign course of our states that holds active position in solution of issues of the whole humankind. The initiatives proposed by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the UN General Assembly and big international forums such as Rio+20 World Forum in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), III UN World Conference on reduction of risk of natural catastrophes in Sendai (Japan) and VII World Water Forum in Tegu (Republic of Korea) are aimed for these purposes.

The first International Ecology Forum “Initiative for Cooperation in Natural Protection and Sustainable Development in Central Asia” organized by the State Committee of Turkmenistan on Natural Protection and Land Resources and Central Asian Regional Ecological Centre (CAREC) was timed to World Environment Day.

There were heads and leading specialists of profile ministries and departments and other government establishments, deputies of national parliaments, representatives of competent international organizations and structures, diplomatic missions, scientific and business circles, mass media from USA, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Belgium, Hungary, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and other states among the participants of the meeting.

Substantial exchange of opinions on opportunities regional and international cooperation in natural protection and sustainable development, joint management of water resources and adaptation to global climate changes were held during plenary and parallel sessions. The heads of Central Asia countries’ delegations presented the models of national natural protection strategies.

Concept of the chairing of Turkmenistan in International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea in 2017 – 2019 also stipulates the consolidation of the cooperation of Central Asia states in all spectrum of environment protection and sustainable development, activation of the partnership of the countries in the region with large competent organizations like the UN and its specialized agencies and structures.

Conference “Role of International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea in development of cooperation in Central Asia” held in Ashgabat in June last year was dedicated to this subject. Representatives of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, the UN Development Programme, the UN Regional Centre of Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia and Central Asian Regional Ecology Centre, German Society on Economic Cooperation, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, heads of diplomatic missions accredited in our country and others took part in the forum.

Efficient and rational use of transboundary water resources, mitigation of the consequences of Aral Crisis and prevention of the degradation of Aral ecosystems, protection of biodiversity and stable use of natural resources, support of economic and social development of the nations in the region were among the topics discussed at the forum.

Moreover, regular session of Interstate Commission on Sustainable Developemnt, which is one of the working agencies of International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea, was held in Turkmen capital.

“Cooperation in sustainable development and management of water resources of Central Asia” was the subject of the meeting organized by the Executive Committee of ISAF and Central Asia Regional Ecological Centre with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of our country.

The meeting was forestalled by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Executive Committee of IFAS and German Economic Cooperation Society (GIZ). This document is related to the realization of the Programme of Transboundary Management of Water Resources in Central Asia aimed at the support of the states in the region in establishment of efficient mechanisms of cooperation in water sector based on universal standards of international law and world practice.

The Memorandum of Understanding between IFAS Executive Committee and Central Asia Regional Ecology Centre stipulating joint performance of the projects “Water, Education and Cooperation” (Smart Water Project) and “Central Asian dialog on use of capabilities of multidimensional financing by strengthening of interrelation “water-energy-food” (Nexus) has also been signed.

The first project performed under the support of the USA Agency on International Development (USAID) is related to training and improvement of qualification of the heads and specialists of water industry, scientific personnel in Aral Sea basin.

In its turn, Nexus Project financed by the European Union and realized by the CAREC with International Union for Environment Protection is to improve the partnership of Central Asian countries in solution of the issues of the provision of water, energy and food security what is closely related to ecological component.

Turkmenistan delegation led by the Chairperson of the Mejlis Committee on legislations and its standards took part in VIII Neva Ecology Congress held in Sankt Petersburg in last May. The forum under the slogan “Ecological education – clean country” was organized by Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the CIS countries, Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia. Ecological behaviour, development of green economy, culture of production and consumption and healthy life style were among the main subjects of the meeting.

Avaza National tourist zone hosted International training seminar “Caspian Sea – Sustainable Development and Management” organized by Foreign Ministry of the country and the State Enterprise for Caspian Sea Affairs under the President of Turkmenistan together with International Ocean Institute.

Specialists of profile ministries and departments of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and our state as well as international experts in marine economy, policy, management, ecology, marine regulation and other disciplines took part in 10-day training.

Similar training on Marine Space Planning was held by International Ocean Institute with the State Agency for Caspian Sea Affairs under the President of Turkmenistan in Ashgabat.

According to the tradition, International Caspian Day was held in Avaza National tourist zone on August 12. This action was aimed at wide popularization of long-term perspective natural protection policy of Turkmenistan among the public as well as at consolidation and expansion of international cooperation in ecology, establishment of the conditions for universal sustainable development.

Key importance paid by Turkmenistan to the provision of ecological prosperity of Caspian Sea is stipulated by special status of the Caspian, which is the largest inland lake of the planet, the pearl of nature with exclusively rich and various flora and fauna. At the same time, Caspian Region is one of important geopolitical and economic centres in Eurasian space serving as strong energy, transport and communication hub. Therefore, the initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on making of actual multidimensional mechanisms of cooperation in protection of ecological and anthropogenic safety in Caspian Sea, which unique natural complex is the heritage of the humankind, are so critical.