On 4 June, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a meeting on priorities for the efficient use of land and water resources in agriculture.
High yield in the agricultural sector is possible only with the rational use of land and water resources. However, due to insufficient attention paid to irrigation networks and unattended land use over the past 30 years, a total of 450,000 hectares of irrigated land turned out to be unsuitable for cultivation.
Currently, there are more than 1 million hectares of land in Uzbekistan that can be farmed. It was noted that measures should be taken to nurture them by performing irrigation works and introducing water-saving technologies, cultivating water-demanding crops.
Measures for the implementation of an effective system for land restoration were discussed at the meeting.
It was noted that it is crucial to introduce, on the basis of international experience, an order in accordance with which the lands left out of circulation will be re-cultivated under the terms of public-private partnership (PPP). At the same time, investors will have the right to independently place crops on developed soils, sublet land and build the necessary infrastructure.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev endorsed the World Bank’s proposal to implement model for the rehabilitation of land that was withdrawn from circulation on the basis of PPP in a particular region of Uzbekistan and gave the heads of relevant ministries guidance on the realization of this project.
Proposals were voiced on the introduction of public-private partnerships also in the management of irrigation networks.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the State Committee for Geodesy and Cadastre were instructed to ensure the transfer of 281 thousand hectares of land to be re-cultivated, based on PPP, in 2019-2021 to the initiators of projects. It was noted that it is important to grow on these soils export-oriented fruits and vegetables, as well as create new varieties of drought-resistant crops.
Proposals were put forward to introduce technologies for improving soil fertility, improving reclamation and water supply on the newly developed lands, and introducing a procedure for partial reimbursement of expenditures aimed at these goals.
Special attention was paid at the meeting to the need for uninterrupted water supply to restored lands, for the application of water-saving technologies.
During the discussion on the study of groundwater reserves, the state committees for geology and ecology as well as the Ministry of Water Resources were recommended to identify and efficiently use groundwater reserves suitable for irrigation of rainfed lands and pastures.
The President gave directives to determine effective measures to prevent illegal use of land and review the control system in this area.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev indicated the need to launch a single automated system to secure the accuracy of land cadastre data and the efficiency of its management.
Relevant instructions were given to the responsible officials on issues discussed at the meeting.