Kyrgyzstan (land area: 199,951 sq km with 5.7 M people (est 2014), is one of the most active member countries participating in the activities of the Central and West Asian Rice Center (CWARice). Rice is a minor crop planted to about 6,000 ha occupying a very small percentage of the 10% of cultivable area (almost 90% of Kyrgyzstan is mountainous and only 10% is cultivable). Most of its rice area planted to traditional varieties (brown and white with average yield of 3.8 t/ha). Rice cropping season is from May to October. There is a great potential to expand rice production considering the availability of suitable lands, water for irrigation, longer solar radiation with cooler nights from June to October and possible export market. However, there are a lot of production as well as program constraints that need to be addressed to improve rice production.
Purposes of CWARice coordinator’s visit to Kyrgyzstan accompanied by Mr. J. Lapitan:
- Present the CWARice plans and programs to senior Kyrgyz’s officials and seek their commitments to support the partnership between the national rice R&D and the Center
- Assess the current rice situation of the country and discuss possible technical assistance and cooperation with the CWARice and IRRI through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
- Explore local funding support to the initial partnership activities
Meeting with Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Melioration (MAM)
At the meeting sessions with Dr. Kerimaliev Janybeck, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Melioration (MAM) & Dr. Dzhamin Akimaliyev, Head, Kyrgyzstan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Mr. J. Lapitan, Head, Partnership Office of IRRI, presented IRRI and its mission, the global rice situation and GRiSP and Dr. K. A. Shahdi delivered a detailed report on rational of CWARice and mandated activities particularly its very important role in enhancing collaboration among national rice R&D programs in Central-West Asia. He also emphasized that no country alone will be able to make the fundamental scientific breakthrough to address the burning issues of the future.
Coordinator made a point to technical, training and research support of member countries by CWARice. Furthermore, draft MOA including predicted programs on the basis of neediness of rice sector handed over Deputy Minister, Dr. Janybeck to be reviewed and signed by their party. The Russian version of this tripartite MOA (IRRI/ CWARice & KARI/ Ministry of Agriculture of Kyrgyzstan) on mutual collaboration to improve rice sector of Kyrgyzstan was prepared as well.
The other parts of this travel was visit to the Southeast of Bishkek, Jalal-Abad province areas under rice cultivation including Ozgen and Suzak, and talking with farmers and senior officials of local government. This region was blessed with adequate water for irrigation, long sunny day and cool nights, ideal for high yield. Dr. Shahdi encouraged the farmers group to explore possible importation of suitable farm machineries from Iran and/ or the other countries in the region.
Some local farmers wished to buy harvesting equipment and machines from Iran through CWARice. They were advised to course their request officially through the agricultural department of Jalal-Abad.
At the end, a meeting with Ambassador of I. R. of Iran in Kyrgyzstan, Dr. Najafi along with Drs. Akimaliyev and Usubaliyev was conducted at the Embassy.
CWARice head presented an overview of CWARice, highlighting the full support of the Iranian government for developing rice sector in CWA region and also some possible areas where the Embassy can help particularly in capacity building to enhance the rice industry in Kyrgyzstan. Ambassador Najaf pledged his support to the CWARice/ IRRI initiatives for Kyrgyzstan whenever possible.