AGRICULTURE IN THE REPUBLIC OF KARAKALPAKSTAN AND KHOREZM OBLAST OF UZBEKISTAN
Kyle, Steven C.; Chabot, Phillippe
This paper describes the agricultural sector in the western region of Uzbekistan, the most populous of the former Soviet Central Asian Republics. Agriculture in this region, as in all of Uzbekistan, is entirely dependent on irrigation, as has been the case for millennia. Evidence of settlement of the desert oases and the banks of the Amu Darya River (known as the Oxus in ancient times) dates back many millennia, as does settlement of the short of the Aral Sea, largely based on fishing. However, the Aral Sea Region of Uzbekistan, including the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan and Khorezm Oblast, the currently undergoing severe ecological stress, as is the entire Aral Sea Basin. Massive expansion of irrigated area starting in the 1960's has resulted in a steady shrinkage of the Aral Sea, whose shoreline is now some 100 kilometers beyond its former location. There are now problems with extreme salinization of the sea water, which supports many fewer species than previously, as well as wind-blown salt from the flats left by the retreating waters. In addition, poor irrigation management has caused severe problems with waterlogging and salinity in upstream areas.
WP 1997-13 July 1997
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University