Cotton fields wither in Turkmenistan

Tenant farmers growing cotton are complaining about an acute shortage of irrigation water.

Residents of the agricultural association Jeyhun in Charjev etrap, Lebap velayat told correspondents of Chronicles of Turkmenistan' that that no agroengineering measures have been conducted after the cotton sowing campaign because of the lack of water.

Irrigation canals which pump water from the Amu Darja river have not been cleared from silt and sediment for many years. For this reason, even if the water is supplied to canals, it is unable to reach cotton fields.

The agricultural lands in the villages of Balykcy, Araplar, Ucbas and Esgiler have been deprived of almost any water supply. Agriculturalists of the farmers' association warn that the situation is serious.

Cotton harvesting campaign usually starts in August but this year there might be no cotton crops, one of the residents from the village of Ucbas said.

Local residents contacted deputy khyakim of Lebap velayat overseeing agriculture, the khyakimlik's office of Chardjev etrap, the Archinlik (the local authority) in an attempt to explain that if the problem of field irrigation is not promptly resolved, the state cotton harvest plan will not be executed. However, neither the regional nor local higherranking officials rushed to handle the problem.

Grain farmers, who decided to sow plots of land with vegetables, herbs, corn or white durra after harvesting wheat, are experiencing similar problems.

Farmers from the agricultural associations of Lebap, Gulistan, Watan, Niyazov, Yalkym, A´┐Żenis, Seyitnazar Seydi in Saytkskiy etrap had previously concluded contracts with the executives of the associations to grow additional produce on leased land. However, the latter did not fulfill obligations in supplying water to the fields.

Don't you see that there is not enough water? Why did you sow the fields then? higherranking officials rebuke the rural inhabitants.

Yet, the problem is the neglected condition of irrigation networks rather than a shortage of water. Water fails to go up the siltcovered canal beds and flood the fields, located closer to the AmuDarja river. As a result it turns out that some fields experience a shortage of water whereas others are flooded.

Local and regional administrations are unable to resolve one of the key agricultural problems of Turkmenistan restore the irrigation network, which has deteriorated during the years of independence.

Let us recall that according to reports obtained by Chronicles of Turkmenistan, in 2018 the country harvested half as much cotton and a third as much grain as had been announced.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan