EUCAM Working Paper - No. 6

The multiple paradoxes of the agriculture issue in Central Asia


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Agriculture constitutes one of the main sectors in the economies of Central Asia: cotton production in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, a booming grain sector in Kazakhstan; and a long tradition of vegetable cultivation throughout the region. The agrarian question is sensitive since the population is predominantly rural and because food safety is not ensured in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Whereas Central Asia is a modest partner in terms of agricultural trade and relatively few European companies are based in the sector, the agrarian issue is of importance for the EU. In the face of massive corruption, what cooperative development should be proposed in agriculture by Brussels? What policy should be pursued towards cotton production in which often child labour is involved? How should land reform be supported? These are questions that stand central in this EUCAM working paper.

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Sébastien Peyrouse is a research professor of International Affairs at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington DC. Next to this Sébastien joined FRIDE as an associate researcher and is also an associated fellow at the Institute for International and Strategic Relations, Paris. Sébastien was a doctoral and postdoctoral fellow at the French Institute for Central Asia Studies in Tashkent (1998-2000 and 2002-2005). His main areas of expertise are political systems in Central Asia, Islam and religious minorities, and Central Asia’s geopolitical positioning toward China, India and South Asia.