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In the Kyrgyz Republic: From the Farm to…Moscow or the EU?

July 24, 2013


World Bank Group


Robert Kadyrkulov is the manager of a cooperative farm. The farm comprises eleven hundred hectares of corn, barley, sugar beet, and saffron fields in the village of Stavropolovka, about one hundred kilometers outside the capital. Using quality seeds, modern planting techniques, and high tech machines, this year he expects a 40 percent profit on the farm’s saffron crop alone. “If we had more farms like this, we could become self-sufficient and we can provide food for ourselves,” he says.

Through a World Bank-supported program, the cooperative farm used a combination of loans and grants to buy a modern, mechanized combine harvester for $115,000 US dollars.  It is a new kind of farming – Kadyrkulov and his colleagues don’t stand in the field with a hoe… they get behind the wheels of giant machines.  “The combine harvester was a boost for our farm because manual harvest is nearly impossible for corn. With the old Soviet machines we were only able to harvest corn on 20 hectares.  Now we can do it on 100 hectares,” Kadyrkulov says.


" If we had more farms like this, we could become self-sufficient and we can provide food for ourselves. The combine harvester was a boost for our farm because manual harvest is nearly impossible for corn. With the old Soviet machines we were only able to harvest corn on 20 hectares. Now we can do it on 100 hectares. "
Robert Kadyrkulov

Robert Kadyrkulov

Manager of a cooperative farm

To help improve the country’s economy, experts say the Kyrgyz Republic needs to process more of the food it grows.  By improving marketing, links between farmers and businesses, and by supporting coops, the idea behind the Bank-supported Agribusiness and Marketing Project is to boost production, and, within the next decade or so, to increase exports to the country’s big neighbors – Kazakhstan and Russia – and elsewhere.

Almaz Dorombaev runs the Agribusiness Competitiveness Center, part of the project. “We are a small country and we import a lot of food. We need to export what we are good at and that is agriculture. Mostly now we send out raw materials, we need to focus on selling finished products.” He adds, “We need to find our niche, we need to be unique and we can do this by making our products high quality.”


" We are a small country and we import a lot of food. We need to export what we are good at and that is agriculture. Mostly now we send out raw materials, we need to focus on selling finished products. We need to find our niche, we need to be unique and we can do this by making our products high quality. "
Almaz Dorombaev

Almaz Dorombaev

Head of the Agribusiness Competitiveness Center

To that end, the Agribusiness and Marketing Project funded Bishkek’s Food Processing Training Center, where students train in food preparation, safety, and quality management.  “For the country, it is very important that our businesses get these professionals so they can produce good-quality food and we can export it,” explains Tamara Junushalieva, the Center’s dean at the Kyrgyz State Technical University.


Using Training to Improve Food

Junushalieva says that Bishkek’s Food Processing Training Center is the only such training center in Central Asia. She says it reflects not only a step up in modernizing Kyrgyz food production; it is also a career boost for students.   “I think the industry is developing so fast, I believe the demand for specialists like me will increase in the future,” says Uuljan Ashimbekova, a third year student.


" I think the industry is developing so fast, I believe the demand for specialists like me will increase in the future. "
Uuljan Ashimbekova

Uuljan Ashimbekova

Student, Food Processing Training Center

Alexander Anisimov, a sixth year student, is a specialist in meat production. He already has a full-time job.  “There’s modern equipment here and we can’t find this kind of equipment in any other place,” he says.

The project worked with 43 Kyrgyz companies on marketing, advertising, and technology. And, in the long term, the hope is to take, for example, saffron out of Robert Kadyrkulov’s field, process it, certify it, and see it for sale on grocery shelves from Moscow to Almaty and perhaps to the European Union.




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