uzbekistanUzbekistan is a landlocked country located in Central Asia. It was a part of the Soviet Union until 1991 and then became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Uzbekistan’s population is about 29 million people, and about 64 percent of these lives in rural areas. The name of the capital is Tashkent.  Uzbekistan is a large, mostly desert and mountainous country, and only about 10 percent of its land is utilized for irrigated agriculture. Besides being a major cotton growing country, Uzbekistan is rich in gold, uranium, coal, copper, silver and natural gas reserves. The country is administratively divided into 12 provinces, which are subdivided into districts. Uzbekistan’s climate is continental, with scant rainfall. Its summers are hot and winters are bitter.



The re-structuring of large collective and state farms has led to the creation of private farms and the expansion of small household plots, which are now responsible for much of the agricultural output. In 2009, the agricultural sector contributed 20 percent, value added,  to the national GDP and employed about 26 percent of the country’s labor force. All the land in Uzbekistan belongs to the state. Farmers lease land and are considered as state employees. Most state enterprises, including agriculture, are registered as national holding or joint stock companies. Uzbekistan is the world’s fifth largest producer of cotton and second largest exporter of this commodity. In 2006, cotton accounted for 17 percent of the country’s exports. Main cereal crops are wheat, barley, maize and rice, grown in intensively irrigated valleys and oases. Other crops are sesame, onions, flax, and tobacco. Uzbek melons are very popular in the region and dry fruits are also exported.

Key Statistics and Indicators




Agricultural land (sq km)

Agricultural land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares)

Arable land (% of land area)

Arable land (hectares per person)











Fertilizer consumption (kg per hectare of arable land)



Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

Food production index (2004-2006 = 100)

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)







GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)



Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

Literacy rate, youth male (% of males ages 15-24)

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)











Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

Internet users (per 100 people)





Population, total

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

Rural population

Rural population (% of total population)

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

Total economically active population

Total economically active population in agriculture*

Total economically active population in agriculture (in %

    of total economically active population)

Female economically active population in agriculture (% of

     total economically active population in agriculture)*



















Sources: The World Bank; *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO



History of Extension and the Enabling Environment

When the country was part of  the  Soviet Union  around 1920’s, when Uzbekistan was known as Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, agricultural operations concentrated almost entirely on the production of cotton on large, state-owned collective farms. The country’s rivers were directed towards cotton growing areas for irrigation, resulting in the loss of more than half of surface area of a saltwater lake, the Areal Sea, over a period of 40 years. This action, which transformed otherwise fertile cotton fields into literally salt grounds, has been termed as one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in history. Official policy excluded the diversified farming altogether. The farms were state-owned and its technical and field staff strictly followed the then government’s command to grow just cotton, destined for the Soviet Union industries. Although review of literature does not specifically show any extension support given to farmers during that particular period, yet it might be due to the fact that the country adopted a model from the Soviet Union that had a “built-in” public extension component in the research programs of zonal agricultural research institutes. Although cotton still remains the most important crop in Uzbekistan in terms of production and export, several changes have occurred in the agriculture sector since then. Starting 1992, major reforms have created a need for advisory services especially for the private farm operators who mostly practice diversified farming.

According to a 2007 World Bank study report, Uzbekistan has three main types of arable land: cooperatives (shirkats); private farms; and household plots (dekhan). The last category, also known as kitchen gardens, covers a small percentage of total land area but is highly productive and substantially contributes to the national food security. In late 2004, the private farms, which are in fact government’s property leased to individuals without ownership rights, accounted for 38 percent of the irrigated area.  

Although presently there is no specific, explicit organizational unit in the government machinery responsible for providing public agricultural extension advisory services yet technical support to the farmers is being implicitly provided through the activities of certain associations, projects, public services and private companies. There is no doubt that Uzbekistan presently lacks a well-established formal extension and advisory system even though the need for such a system is being felt increasingly, which is evident from several initiatives. For example, studies have been conducted on the role of women in agriculture in Uzbekistan; an innovative public-private partnership (PPP) for irrigation has been tried in Fergana State that facilitated communication between researchers and farmers leading to higher yields and water savings; and government policies show a steady though gradual trend towards market-oriented agricultural reforms.

Uzbekistan has received financial and technical assistance from a number of donors for developing its various economic sectors including agriculture. Some of the donors are USA, Japan, Germany, South Korea, World Bank, European Union and various UN agencies like the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Support to the agriculture sector including that for extension advisory services has mainly come from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and GIZ (Germany). Technical assistance has also been provided by certain United States universities, notably University of Maryland, through bilateral cooperation and exchange programs under USAID funded projects.


Extension Providers

Major Institutions Providing Extension/Advisory Services

Public Institutions

Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources

The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for the development of agriculture and water sectors in Uzbekistan. It ensures compliance with the relevant legislation rules and regulations. The Ministry is also responsible for providing technical advice to the farmers, but since it does not have a dedicated institution for extension/advisory service in conventional sense, technical advice is implicitly delivered through various public institutions, authorities and programs, such as follows:

  • Rural Business Advisory Service
  • Agricultural Service Organizations (AgSOs) covering production, trade, procurement, credit and consulting functions; example: Machine-Tractor Parks, which are currently going through major transformation due to changes in the type of clients and their diversified needs for services
  • Training Centers of Basin Irrigation System Authorities (BISAs)
  • Oblast and Rayon level Agriculture and Water Resources Authorities
  • Uzbek Scientific Production Center for Agriculture
  • Donor-funded projects including: Agricultural Enterprise Restructuring Project financed by the World Bank; Sustainable Development in Rural Areas of Uzbekistan Project funded by the European Union; Extending Educational Outreach to Farmers in Uzbekistan, funded by USAID


  • Tashkent State Agricultural University
  • National University of Uzbekistan
  • Samarkand State University
  • Termez State University

Agricultural institutes

  • Andizhan Agricultural Institute.
  • Karshi Agricultural Institute.
  • Samarkand Agricultural Institute.
  • Tashkent Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Institute.

Scientific Research Institutes and Research Centers

  • Uzbek Scientific Institute of Cotton Cultivation, Kibray, Tashkent Region
  • Karakalpak Scientific Research Institute of Agriculture, Chimbay, Qaragalpakistan Region
  • Uzbek Scientific Research Institute of Horticulture, Viticulture and Wine-making, Zangiata, Tashkent Region
  • Uzbek Scientific Research Institute of Veterinary, Taylyak, Samarkand Region 

Non-Public Institutions

Private sector

No private company provides extension advisory services, per se. Some companies, however, could undertake advisory type activities during promotion of their products or business services. A few examples of private companies in Uzbekistan engaged in the trading of agricultural commodities are:

  • Dovon LLC, Tashkent dealing in films for agriculture.
  • Taael Nurafshon Ltd. dealing in ferula, almond, pistachio, peanuts, green beans and cotton.
  • Alifar Agroimpeks and Engineering dealing in dried fruits, fruit dryers, vegetable slicers, etc.
  • State Joint-Stock Company (SJSC) Uzprommashimpeks operates within the system of Ministry for Foreign Relations, Investments and Trade, and is the biggest exporter of Uzbek cotton.

Non-governmental organizations

There are no NGOs in Uzbekistan with clear agenda of extension/advisory service. Although the government closed a considerable number of NGOs mostly on state security grounds yet the recent policy shows a favorable trend towards civic society institutions. The evidence of this trend lies in the recognition of the importance of establishing and developing civil society institutions by the President of Uzbekistan, and the annual financial grants given to NGOs by the government since 2005. It is possible that NGOs could play a role in extension delivery services in the near future when the country develops a formal mechanism for extension advisory services.

Farmers-based Associations, Cooperatives and Societies

Uzbekistan does not have conventional types of independent farmers’ associations and cooperatives. A farmers’ union called Zamindor, operating in the Bostanlyk District, was recently outlawed by the government apparently for political reasons. However, there are certain associations, such as follows, that are working for benefit of their member farmers.

  • Association of Private Farmers (a public institution, with branches in regions and districts).
  • Water Users Associations (WUAs); also called as Water Consumer Associations (WCAs).
  • Association of Women Farmers in the process of being established under a project launched by the Foundation for Social Initiatives in Uzbekistan in collaboration with MikroKreditBank and in partnership with Khalk Bank, Association of Credit Unions, Association of Accountants and Auditors of Uzbekistan, DVV International (Germany), U.S. National Democratic Institute, and USAID.

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Uzbekistan. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.



Training Options for Extension Professionals

Pre-service education in agricultural discipline may be pursued at any of the public academic institutions such as Tashkent State Agricultural University and other universities that have agriculture faculties. In-service training may be arranged at several types of institutions listed in the previous section. However, in the absence of a formal, dedicated institution exclusively meant for providing extension advisory services, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources will have to take lead in organizing in-service training of extension or extension type professionals based at various national and field institutions.



Info-mediaries and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

According to the World Bank, in 2011, the number of mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) in Uzbekistan was 91.64. During the same year, the number of Internet users (per 100 people) in the country was 30.2.  A project “Promotion of ICT Units in Rural Areas to Foster Small and Micro Enterprise Development in Uzbekistan” was launched in 1998 with the assistance of UNDP. Under this project, the State Property Committee started the Business Incubator Network Development (BIND) program.

The Presidential Decree of May 31, 2002 reflected major aspects of a National ICT and Internet Strategy. On its basis, a “Concept for Development of Informatization in Uzbekistan” was developed, tested and approved by the Coordination Council for Development of Computerization and ICT in May, 2005. The government is interested in incorporating ICT in all sectors. Reportedly, by 2011, as many as 10,914 educational institutions and 35 scientific research institutes had been linked to the network “ZioNet”. Apart from the fact that Uzbekistan still has to establish a formal organization for extension advisory services, little is known about the use of ICT for agricultural and extension advisory operations.



Resources and References

Abdullaev, I., C.D. Fraiture, M. Giordano, M. Yakubov and A. Rasulov (2009). Agricultural water use and trade in Uzbekistan: Situation and potential impacts of market liberalization. Water Resources Development, Vol. 25, No. 1, 47-63, March 2009.

Bekchanov, M., E. Kan and J. Lamers (2009). Options of Agricultural Extension Provision for Rural Development in Central Asian Transition Economies: The Case of Uzbekistan. PowerPoint presentation under ZEF/UNESCO project “Economic and Ecological Re-structuring of Land and Water Use in the Khorezm Region, Uzbekistan”.

Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Republic of Uzbekistan (October 2010). Report on GTZ-ZEF/UNESCO Symposium on Agricultural Service Provision in Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union, held at Urgench, Uzbekistan, October 20-22, 2010.

Food and Agriculture Organization  (2011). Uzbekistan: Trends of Agro-industry. Agro-industry Brief. FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia.

Food and Agriculture Organization (2009).Conservation Agriculture in Uzbekistan.

Johnson, D.M., J.C. Hanson and R.J. Miller (March 2004). Extending Educational Outreach to Farmers in Uzbekistan. Information Series 200402.College Park, Maryland, USA: Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland.

Jumaboev, K., J.M. Reddy, S. Muhammedjanov, O. Anarbekov and D. Eshmuratov (2013). An innovative public-private partnership for irrigation extension in Fergana valley of Central Asia. Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Vol. 5 (1), Pp. 21 – 30, January 2013.

Kazbekov, J. and A.S. Qureshi (2011). Agricultural Extension in Central Asia: Existing Strategies and Future Needs. IWMI Working Paper 145. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute.

Khusanova, M. (no date; probably 2006). ICT Business Statistics and ICT Sector: Uzbekistan’s Experience. PowerPoint presentation; available at: 

Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Republic of Uzbekistan (2012). Assessment of Agricultural Innovation System in Uzbekistan. Country Report prepared under the FAO/Turkey Partnership Program “Capacity Development for Analysis and Strengthening of Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) in Central Asia and Turkey”.

Rivera, W.M. (1998). An institutional variant in extension: The rural business advisory service in Uzbekistan. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, Fall 1998, Pp. 37 – 43.

Shtaltovna, A., A.K. Hornidge and P.P. Mollinga (2011). The Re-invention of Agricultural Service Organizations in Uzbekistan – A Machine-Tractor Park in the Khorezm Region. Working Paper Series 75. Bonn: Center for Development Research, University of Bonn.

Sutton, W., P. Whitford, E.M. Stephens, S.P. Galinato, B. Nevel, B. Plonka and E. Karamete. (2007). Integrating Environment into Agriculture and Forestry: Progress and Prospects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia – Volume II. Washington, DC: The World Bank

Tritz, J.A. and R.A. Martin (1998). Perceptions of female agricultural educators regarding the role of women in agriculture in Uzbekistan: Implications for agriculture and extension education. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, Summer 1998, Pp. 77 – 82.

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