President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev on September 6 held a government meeting to discuss priority tasks of the country’s agricultural development in 2020-2030, the president’s official website reported.

In recent years, a number of measures have been taken to reform the sector and introduce market mechanisms. As a result of almost threefold increase in government procurement prices, cotton and grain cultivation have become a real source of profit for farmers.

In the current year alone, water-saving irrigation technologies were introduced on 25 thousand hectares of cotton fields. Large-scale works on the restoration of 1.1 million hectares of degraded land have begun.

This was the first stage of reforms in the agricultural sector.

At the meeting, the president set the task to bring the transformation in the sector to a new level. To this end, an agricultural development strategy for 2020-2030 is being elaborated, designed to make the sector the main point of growth, a driver of economic advancement.

The meeting participants identified tasks for the implementation of the strategy.

It was emphasized that land owners will invest in land, strive to increase fertility and productivity only when they are fully confident in its future. In this regard, the president noted the need for a complete update of the legislation to ensure transparency of the land allocation system, the inviolability of land, and guaranteed protection of land rights.

The rational use of water is also extremely important. As the analysis shows, billions of cubic meters of water are sent to irrigate crops in Uzbekistan, but only 60 percent reaches the fields, while the rest is lost in the irrigation systems and in the process itself.

As the World Resources Institute forecasts, by 2040 Uzbekistan may be among 33 nations of the world with acute shortage of water.

In this regard, the head of state stressed the need to increase the efficiency of water use and introduce water-saving technologies on 200 thousand hectares of land each year.

The meeting participants also analyzed the world experience. For example, in Turkey, 2 thousand dollars can be raised from the cultivation of 1 hectare of land, 8 thousand dollars in Egypt, and 12 thousand in Israel. In Uzbekistan, this figure does not exceed 300 dollars.

In 2018, a total of $2.3 billion worth of agricultural products were exported by Uzbekistan. As a result of the implementation of tasks included in the new strategy, it is expected to bring this indicator to $20 billion by 2030.

At the meeting, officials were instructed to introduce a product certification system in accordance with standards of the European Union, East Asian nations, and the Arab world.