The arrival of Chinese experts and agricultural technology has given thousands of cotton farmers in Uzbekistan hope for higher yields, lower costs and higher incomes.
Since 2018, the Cotton Research Institute, affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, has piloted cotton production programs in four regions of Uzbekistan, including 50 hectares of cotton fields in Syrdarya and three other regions. includes a total of 18 hectares of cotton fields. .
Researchers in this program have piloted China’s most advanced technology in cotton production, including the use of mulch films, adjusting fertilizer based on soil conditions, green pest control technology, and drip irrigation technology.
“The experiment was a great success,” said Ma Xiongfeng, deputy director of the institute.
He said cottonseed yields from the program’s fields have reached 6 tons per hectare. This is four times his local yield level.
“More importantly, the technology requires only a third of the amount of irrigation water normally required by local fields, which has long faced the challenges of drought. It’s a big step forward for Uzbekistan, which has been working hard,” he said.
Cotton is often referred to as Uzbekistan’s “white gold”. According to the Institute, the area of land used to grow cotton in Uzbekistan accounts for two-thirds of his total in Central Asia and 40% of the country’s total agricultural land.
Cotton cultivation is a source of income for half of Uzbekistan’s population, and the introduction of Chinese cotton varieties and cultivation techniques is part of a broader effort to increase yields and farmers’ incomes, Ma said. .
The success of the pilot project has been met with positive feedback from the Uzbekistan government.
In December 2018, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a presidential decree calling for the establishment of a special commission to bring Chinese cotton-growing technology to the Central Asian country.
According to this decree, more than 10% of Uzbekistan’s cotton fields will adopt Chinese technology.
In August 2020, six varieties of cotton seeds developed by the research institute obtained approval from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for export to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
According to Uzbekistan’s president’s website, Uzbekistan’s cotton production is being threatened this year by a prolonged heat wave.