By Kamila Aliyeva
Self-sufficiency in domestic market and food security are priority directions of development of agricultural sector, a centerpiece of Uzbekistan’s economy.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev instructed the government to develop a number of key programs for the development of the agrarian sector in the next few months, podrobno.uz reported.
Until mid-December, the Cabinet is expected to prepare regulatory and legal acts aimed at further development of animal husbandry, poultry farming, fish farming, fruit and vegetable growing, beekeeping and other important areas of agriculture, coordination of activities of farms in this area and increasing its efficiency.
Also, the government will present a program of comprehensive measures to widely implement market infrastructures, innovations, scientific achievements and modern information and communication technologies. Its main goal is to increase the efficiency and profitability of agriculture, especially in mechanizing the collection of cotton and further improvement of labor relations in the area.
Ensuring food security is another important area. In this regard, the head of state instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to develop a comprehensive program of measures to ensure the country's food security until 2020.
The country's economy depends heavily on agricultural production. Last year the volume of gross agricultural production in Uzbekistan reached 47.4 trillion soums. As of January 1, 2017, the number of operating farms exceeded 132,000 and dekhkan farms - 4.7 million.
In total, 8.2 million tons of grain, 2.9 million tons of potatoes, 11.2 million tons of vegetables, over 3 million tons of fruits and berries, 1.7 million tons of grapes, 2 million tons of melons and 2.9 million tons of raw cotton were produced in the country last year.
Because of the risks associated with a one-crop economy as well as from considerations of food security for the population, Uzbekistan has been trying to diversify its production of other agricultural products, while reducing cotton production.
The Central Asian nation intends to decrease production and public procurement of raw cotton up to 3 million tons by 2020.
Thus, Uzbekistan aims to increase production of grain crops up to 8.5 million tons with the growth rate of 16.4 percent by 2020 due to optimization of lands and introduction of modern agriculture technologies. It is also planned to increase production of potatoes by 35 percent, other vegetables by 30 percent, fruits and grapes 21.5 percent, meat by 26.2 percent, milk by 47.3 percent, eggs by 74.5 percent and fish by 2.5 times.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz