Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Farewell to Agriculture? Productivity Trends and the Competitiveness of Agriculture in Central Asia

Gharleghi, Behrooz and Popov, Vladimir (2018): Farewell to Agriculture? Productivity Trends and the Competitiveness of Agriculture in Central Asia. Published in:

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Abstract

Agricultural productivity in the Central Asian republics of the USSR stopped growing from the late 1970s and declined in the 1990s when the transition to the market occurred. As a result, most agricultural goods were uncompetitive on the both the domestic market and the world market, and the agricultural trade balance deteriorated as imports grew faster than exports. Although there have been a few success stories – cereals in Uzbekistan, meat production in Azerbaijan, oil seeds in Kazakhstan – the overall picture is not one of agriculture as the driving force of the region’s future growth. We argue, however, that the relative decline of agriculture is consistent with international experience. In ‘economic miracle’ countries, the share of agriculture fell faster than in other countries because the sector donated labour to the industrial sector, which was the engine of growth. The problem in Central Asia is not the slow growth of agricultural output, but the slow growth of productivity in agriculture, which fails to increase the competitiveness of agricultural products and leads to an inability of the rural population to move to more productive industrial activities.

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