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The agriculture sector in Kazakhstan has undergone rapid change over the last ten years. In the first stage state owned and collective farms were transformed into producer cooperatives owned by their former employees. Central provision of essential inputs was rapidly withdrawn while product prices were initially held down to protect urban consumers. Faced by rising input prices, escalating tax demands and disappearing product markets the cooperatives sold much of their livestock and built up unsustainable levels of debt. In the latest stage of the process, bankruptcy procedures have been used to write off debts and reorganise the cooperatives into private farms. Against this background the paper describes an attempt to assist three farms to draw up business plans for the next seven years. The business plans focus on how the farms should make profitable use of improved irrigation systems provided under a government credit scheme.


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