20:09 / 07.09.2021

“Link between khokims and farmers should be broken” – Suma Chakrabarti speaks about agriculture in Uzbekistan

Adviser to the President believes that Uzbek farmers do not see the yield of their labor.

Suma Chakrabarti, an adviser to the Uzbek president on economic development, governance and international cooperation, told “Khoshimov’s economy” that there are barriers to agriculture and the government is not yet ready to sell the land.

In an interview with Suma Chakrabarti in the “Khoshimov’s economy” project, economist Behzod Khoshimov said that at the end of the last century, many countries had begun land reform, and agricultural productivity had led to their development, but Uzbekistan had not acted in this regard.

“Many Asian countries, especially East Asia, started land reform, at least in the late 1980s and 1990s. So, they reformed agriculture. China and other countries gave land to farmers, and as a result, agricultural productivity led to their growth and development.

Over the past 30 years, Uzbekistan, in my opinion, has made no attempt to reform agriculture. The government plays a key role in how much cotton and wheat is harvested. There is management of the economy mainly in agriculture, which increases the dependence of farmers on local government. Farmers themselves do not get the yields of their labor. So there is no incentive to increase productivity,” he said.

The presidential adviser was asked why this was happening. Suma Chakrabarti spoke about the obstacles in agriculture in Uzbekistan, the lack of investors in the republic.

“I have not studied agriculture in Uzbekistan. But I think issues such as the role of the state in the sector, the purchase of a certain amount of produce each year, the relationship between governors and farmers, and the existence of major restrictions on agriculture need to be considered in more detail.

So, at the same time, it is clear that the state is not yet ready to agree to land reform, which will allow it to abandon the sale of leased land plots for what you have said.

So productivity needs to increase, which requires a little more capital. Investors bring in their modern management methods, which I think will help in managing the technology and the farms. I know little about it, but many have complained to me about the behavior of local khokims. Basically, they need to break the link between khokims and farmers to ensure the independence of banks and farmers with the best interest rates for them.

That is why many tell me that this is always a very sensitive issue in Uzbekistan. Because a large part of the gross domestic product falls on agriculture, but the sector is less productive.

I want to see if the cluster system works or not. I think that’s a big problem. I also want to see the new Land Code and where it matters. I think there is also a new anti-corruption decree that pays special attention to khokims. It’s all interesting to see if this area can be changed as well. Agriculture is a sector that needs big reforms to make the economy better,” Suma Chakrabarti said.

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