Tajikistan expanding cotton fields in a bid to raise output
Cotton cultivation area in Tajikistan has increased by 13,500 hectares this year, local news agency TajikTA reported Feb. 5.
“Cotton is one of the Tajik export commodities and a raw material for the local light industry. With growth of market demand cotton is now being cultivated in a total area of 187,500 hectares, 13,500 hectares more compared to 2017,” Tajik Ministry of Agriculture states.
Cotton fields are to be expanded at the expense of grain and fodder crop areas, according to the ministry.
Earlier, cotton cultivation areas and, correspondingly, cotton production were decreasing in the country.
In 2012, 418,000 tons of cotton was harvested, while the harvest was 393,000 tons in 2013, 372,000 tons in 2014, 335,000 tons in 2015, and 270,000 tons the last year. A consistent decrease in cotton cultivation fields caused the decline as 200,000 hectares were allotted for cotton in 2012, with only 160,000 hectares allotted in 2016.
In 2017, Tajik farmers managed to meet the Agriculture Ministry's forecast for the first time over the past several years. Thus in 2017, 380,000 of cotton was harvested in Tajikistan, 5.2 percent more than in 2016.
Cotton has always been one of the main export commodities (together with primary aluminium) for Tajikistan.