Agriculture may be driver for Central Asian economies, say World Bank experts
COVID-19 pandemic has not led to a significant destabilization of the global food markets. This allowed to mitigate negative effects in Central Asia for food security and agriculture, share of which in each country’s GDP is different: 4.4 percent in Kazakhstan, 11.6 percent in Kyrgyzstan, 19.2 percent in Tajikistan, 20.0 percent in Turkmenistan and 28.8 in Uzbekistan.
Such a conclusion was stated during an online briefing for regional media and expert community by a Lead Agricultural Economist at the World Bank Sergiy Zorya.
Central Asian countries took urgent measures to strengthen the food security and support the agro-food sector in the pandemic conditions. The region’s governments brought state food reserves and began to increase their stocks, established administration control over food prices, reduced their cost due to export restrictions and lower tariffs on the imported food products. At the same time, authorities accelerated the lifting of restrictions on the transportation of agricultural products and movement of the industry’s workers as well as provided farmers and agro-enterprises with deferral on repayment of loans and other incentives that stimulate their activities.
“In 2020, agriculture may become one of the main stabilizing factors and growth driver for Central Asian countries’ economies. Moreover, it is able to ensure more jobs than any other industry,” said Sergiy Zorya.
The expert highlighted that after the pandemic, the governments need to focus on restoring agricultural trade in Central Asia, improvement of regional cooperation in sanitary and phytosanitary safety, management of state food reserves, increasing investments in veterinary services and digital transformation of the agro-food field.