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Lecture, Lecture series

Farmers’ Cooperation in Water Management in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

Lecture by Dr. Nodir Djanibekov, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies, Halle

The reforms in Central Asian agriculture after the fall of Soviet state have not generated much desired grassroots movements and organizations which would enable collective action within the new agrarian class of individual farmers. Water management has shifted attention to technical issues about ensuring irrigation water supply to the large number of water users and maintaining irrigation infrastructure. Institutional factors have been pointed to have a crucial role in triggering cooperation among water users. This study looks at individual’s decisions to cooperate in water management in two contrasting environments of post-Soviet governmentality, namely in irrigated areas of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Based on information from a survey of cotton cultivating farmers and expert interviews in two Central Asian provinces, Samarkand in Uzbekistan and Turkistan in Kazakhstan, the study examines how the mode of agricultural transition led to divergent forms of water resources management. The field data show that self-reported irrigation cooperation has been lower in paternalistic and state-centered settings of Uzbekistan. Moreover, farmers are more likely to cooperate if involvement in self-organized or induced forms of cooperation, such as hashar, is self-initiated. Environments entrusting farmers with more autonomy, such as about voluntary contributions into public infrastructure, can stimulate their cooperation intentions.

Dr. Nodir Djanibekov is a senior researcher in the Department Agricultural Policy at the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) in Halle (Saale). He obtained his PhD at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn. Prior to joining IAMO, he was a researcher in the German-Uzbek development research project on the restructuring of land and water management in Uzbekistan. His research interests include the issues related to technology adoption, evolution of formal and informal institutions in agriculture, farmers’ behavior in resource use, and agricultural policies in the post-Soviet Central Asian countries.

This event is part of the lecture series:
Lecture Series in the academic year 2019/20
Central Eurasian Studies and Translocality. A Debate Unfolding