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Abstract

Kyrgyz agriculture experienced substantial reform during the 1990s and early 2000s. Subsequently, the pace of reform slowed and at present the government does not appear to have any clear strategy for further development in the sector. Summarizing the outcomes of these reforms, a certain freedom granted to farmers stands out as one of the main achievements and an important reason for the sector’s efficiency. Peasant farms are effectively protected from attempts to administratively regulate crop structure or introduce any other types of market distortions. However, an insufficient level of investments is undermining long-term prospects for development in the sector. Supporting large professional players in the sector is one of the key policy priorities of the government. It is however necessary to provide space for these enterprises to emerge on their own. It is additionally important to ensure that any support policies in favor of such players also provide positive spillovers to the small farmers around them, and do not aim at replacing them mechanically. The list of incomplete policy reforms is very long, especially in the area of natural resource management and provision of other essential public goods. The state of pastures and irrigation systems is alarming and requires government support well above its current level. Understanding the key areas for government intervention and focusing interventions on public goods provision should be the key components of a future agricultural development strategy.

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