Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09ASHGABAT1069
2009-08-25 12:32:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

BERDIMUHAMEDOV AIMS TO BOOST TURKMEN AGRICULTURE BUT

Tags:  EAGR TX 
pdf how-to read a cable
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DE RUEHAH #1069 2371232
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251232Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3347
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5581
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3300
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3165
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3824
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1104
RHMCSUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 3832
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001069 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB
ANKARA FOR AGRICULTURE COUNSELOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR TX
SUBJECT: BERDIMUHAMEDOV AIMS TO BOOST TURKMEN AGRICULTURE BUT
NEGLECTS PRIVATE SECTOR

UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001069

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EEB
ANKARA FOR AGRICULTURE COUNSELOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR TX
SUBJECT: BERDIMUHAMEDOV AIMS TO BOOST TURKMEN AGRICULTURE BUT
NEGLECTS PRIVATE SECTOR


1. (U) Sensitive, but unclassified. Not for Internet
distribution.


2. (SBU) SUMMARY: On August 18, President Berdimuhamedov made a
working visit to the eastern province of Lebap. The President
checked the status of the province's cotton-growing campaign by
visiting two cotton farms and a new cotton-producing village. He
also took a tour of a new textile factory. Berdimuhamedov's focus
on state-run cotton farms is a good illustration of the neglect of
private farms, despite the fact that private farms would diversify
the country's agricultural sector and benefit the population. END
SUMMARY.


3. (U) During his working visit to Lebap province on August 18,
President Berdimuhamedov visited two state cotton farms run by
contract farmers. These farmers pay a small amount of rent for the
land they farm and receive half-price seeds, fertilizer and other
inputs on the condition that they sell their crops to the government
at fixed prices. Referring to high yields that Lebap farmers
achieved during past wheat and cotton seasons, Berdimuhamedov
recommended building on the experience of successful farmers and
applying modern agricultural techniques to increase the province's
potential. In 2008, the province harvested 300,000 tons of cotton.



4. (U) According to a government press report on the President's
visit, the two farmers who met with the President were well-known in
the province for achieving high yields, and this year they were
expecting to harvest an average of six tons of cotton per hectare.
(NOTE: The average yield for cotton in the country is two tons per
hectare. END NOTE.) The farmers thanked the President for "the deep
reforms in the agrarian sector," noting the increased state
purchasing prices for wheat and cotton. These prices had grown five
times in 2007, and are now $366 for a ton of short-staple cotton and
$528 for a ton of medium-staple cotton.


5. (U) During a tour of current projects in the province,
Berdimuhamedov visited an almost completed textile factory in
Turkmenabat, the administrative center of the province. The textile
factory would replace an old Soviet-era factory that lacked modern
equipment. The new factory will provide 500 jobs and produce 17,700
tons of high-quality yarn a year. The President also visited a new
farmers' village, opened in 2007 on virgin land, that is supposed to
boost cotton production in the province.


6. (SBU) In addition to wheat and cotton, Lebap farmers grow fruit
and vegetables to sell at the open market to supplement their modest
earnings from sales to the state. A farmer from Lebap told Pol/Econ
Locally Engaged Staff member that the majority of farmers agree to
produce wheat and cotton for the state-run farms in order to have
access to land, which is in short supply in densely populated Lebap,
and irrigation water. However, farmers use the edges of their state
farm plots, as well as their own backyards, to grow fruit and
vegetables.


7. (SBU) COMMENT: Historically engaged in agriculture, the
population of Lebap Province has great potential for fruit tree
husbandry, orchard development and livestock breeding. Currently,
this potential is limited by the shortage of land suitable for
farming and the government's prioritization of cotton, which can be
sold for cash, and wheat. If the government were to rent arable
land to farmers and allow them to grow what they chose, the poor
sectors of the population, in particular, would benefit from the
increased availability and thus lower prices of fruit, vegetables,
and meat. END COMMENT.

MILES