In recent years, increasing food independence has become an important trend in the economy of Turkmenistan. This was a consequence of large-scale reforms in the agricultural sector, intensive development of the food industry, as well as the implementation of a program to support domestic entrepreneurship.
Turkmen economic analyst Valentin Trapeznikov told CentralAsia.news about the dynamics of development of the agro-industrial complex of the republic.
The most important areas of agricultural reforms were state support for agricultural producers, the creation of special land funds for the cultivation of important crops, the development of greenhouse farms and livestock complexes, technical re-equipment and digitalization of agricultural processes, and much more.
In recent years, grain production amounted to 1.4-1.8 million tons. In 2022, the growth in the production of vegetables increased by more than 1.8 times, melons — 2.2 times, potatoes — 2.8 times, fruits and berries — 1.5 times, compared to 2007.
In 2023, the positive dynamics of production of these crops will continue. Thus, for 7 months of this year, the increases in their production are 18,3%, 6,5%, 9,9% and 2,3%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2022.
The development of greenhouse farms allows Turkmenistan not only to supply the domestic market with vegetables all year round, but also to increase their exports. Thus, at the end of 2022, vegetables worth 115.8 million US dollars were exported, and that is 31,3% more than the results of the previous year. In the first half of 2023, the physical and value volumes of vegetable exports increased by another 17,4% and 14,5%, respectively, compared to 2022. Turkmenistan is a major supplier of vegetable products and especially tomatoes to the CIS market.
Livestock production also showed growth. For example, the production of poultry meat increased by 5-6 times compared to 2007, and meat and offal — by an average of 1.4 times.
The intensification of production of agricultural food crops stimulated the rapid development of the food industry. A compelling example of this is the increase in the basic food production. For example, in recent years, the production of sausages increased by 3-3.2 times, butter — 1.8-1.9 times, whole milk products — 1.9-2 times, fermented milk products — 1.6-1.7 times, cheeses and cottage cheese — 1.6-1.7 times, canned fruits and vegetables — 1.7-1.8 times, canned meat — 26-28 times, confectionery — 1.9-2 times, pasta — 1.9-2 times, soft drinks — up to 3.8 times, compared to 2007.
For 7 months of 2023, the increase in production compared to the same period in 2022 was: sausages — 17,5%, butter — 21,2%, canned fruits and vegetables — 5,3%, whole milk products — 8,4%, confectionery products — 5,3%, bakery products — 2%.
The performance of domestic businessmen exceeds the national average. Thus, in the first 7 months of this year, the increase in production of sausages by private enterprises amounted to 21,5%, butter — 21,8%, canned fruits and vegetables — 6,4%, whole milk products — 9,7%, confectionery products — 5,7%, bakery products — 2,4%, cereals — 15,3%.
Representatives of the non-state sector are actively involved in the production of almost all agricultural crops, producing the main volumes of vegetables, melons, fruits and berries, grapes and potatoes.
In addition, the domestic business corps is mastering the production of subtropical crops, in particular bananas. Mushroom production is developing actively as well.
Turkmen businessmen also cultivate feed and oilseeds such as soybeans, rapeseed, sunflowers, sesame, olives and others. This is the basis for the production of various types of vegetable oil of sunflower, sesame, olive, soybean and rapeseed.
Currently, the domestic market of Turkmenistan is full of a wide range of food products. This applies, first of all, to fruit and berry products and canned fruit and vegetables, sausages and deli meats, butter, whole milk products, confectionery, soft drinks and other types of food.
At the same time, our country is already achieving export orientation for many types of food. These are fresh and canned vegetables and fruits, confectionery products made of sugar and flour.
In general, the production of the above food crops, as well as the development of the food industry, contributes to the progressive strengthening of the country’s food independence, as well as the growth of its export potential.