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China, Central Asian countries strengthen agricultural cooperation

Updated: May 12, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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A Chinese-made combine harvester is used by Kazakh farmers during harvest season in Kazakhstan, Sept. 16, 2020. (Kazakhstan National agrarian science educational center/Handout via Xinhua)

URUMQI, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Abdullah Begmatov, a cotton farmer from Uzbekistan, is very optimistic about his cotton production this year, thanks to the advanced irrigation techniques from China and guidance from Chinese experts.

Begmatov's family has been living in the Syrdarya region of Uzbekistan for generations. In 2020, Begmatov forged cooperation with a Chinese agricultural firm to adopt the drip irrigation system for his cotton field.

"The drip irrigation method not only helps to reduce costs, but it is also easy to operate and supports water conservation," the 57-year-old farmer said.

In September 2021, the Chinese company, Yangling Modern Agriculture International Cooperation Co., Ltd., started the construction of a Chinese-Uzbek modern agricultural science and technology demonstration park. The park is located near Begmatov's cotton field and spans an area of more than 233 hectares.

"China's advanced agricultural technologies and high-quality crop varieties have been introduced into the park. Trial plantation of oil sunflower, soybean and corn has been completed, and more varieties will be grown here in the future," said Chen Bing, vice general manager of the company. "Our technologies won recognition from the Uzbek government and experts."

Since 2016, China's Xi'an Aiju Grain and Oil Industrial Group has promoted the order-based agricultural planting mode in Kazakhstan. Relying on the demands of the vast Chinese market, the company provides Kazakh farmers with planting orders with guaranteed purchase prices, which has helped farmers increase their incomes and expand their exports.

"Our company managed to introduce camel milk powder into the Chinese market, which has further boosted the development of the local husbandry and increased the income of local residents," said Yang Jie, chairman of Golden Camel Group Ltd., a Chinese enterprise based in southern Kazakhstan, adding that the efforts have been highly praised by the Kazakh government.

Thanks to the closer ties between China and the Central Asian countries and their strengthened cooperation in agriculture, an increasing number of agricultural products from Central Asian countries have been making their way into the Chinese market.

According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of China, trade in agricultural products between China and the five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan -- increased from 175 million U.S. dollars in 1992 to 1.07 billion dollars in 2021.

Among them, agricultural trade between China and Kazakhstan ranked first, with a trade volume of 574 million dollars in 2021, accounting for 53 percent of the total, followed by Uzbekistan at 302 million dollars, or 28 percent.

"China has now become an important partner in trade and economic cooperation of the five Central Asian countries," said Tursunali Kuziev, a professor at Journalism and Mass Communications University of Uzbekistan, adding that the innovation and exchanges in agricultural sciences have constantly pushed forward cooperation in this field.

"Agricultural technologies from China are further boosting the crop output and contributing to the local food security." 

Editor: Su Dan