Agricultural mechanization in Central Asia : responding to new realities


The benefits of agricultural sector reform in Central Asia have yet to extend to farm mechanization. Fifteen years after reform began, most producers are still either using dilapidated, obsolete, Soviet-era machinery for crop production and harvesting; or have reverted to animal traction and manual cultivation. And as machinery replacement has been minimal, the machinery park has deteriorated substantially. Reluctant to accept the new reality of small-holder agriculture in place of large-scale, capital intensive collective farms, most governments have promoted measures to replace existing farm machinery with equivalent new machinery suited to large-scale production systems. Yet tractors, equipment and harvesters of this nature are not only unsuited to the small plots which now provide most agricultural output, they are also beyond the means of most producers. The private sector has also been reluctant to fill this vacuum, either through the provision of finance or the establishment of dealer networks and supply of the parts and technical services essential to keep farm machinery operating. Central Asia's resource base for farm mechanization continues to deteriorate as a result