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Turkmen Agriculture Minister Replaced for Poor Performance

Tuesday 24 July 2012

(AP) – President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov fired the agriculture minister for poor performance and rebuked four provincial governors for various shortcomings, state newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan reported Saturday.

Merdan Bayramov (مردان بایراموف), who served as the former Soviet Central Asian nation’s agriculture minister from January 2011, was replaced by his deputy, Rejep Bazarov (رجب بازاروف). Other officials in the sector were also replaced.

The wheat harvest this year fell 25% short of the 1.6 million ton state target.

In a possible effort to mitigate concerns over price rises, Berdymukhamedov also announced a 10% increase in state salaries starting from next year. Pensions will rise by 15%, with retirees in the highest band receiving $260 monthly.

Turkmenistan Wheat Production by Year

Turkmenistan inherited the system of state and collective farms from the Soviet Union, with its command structure of production quotas, fixed procurement prices, and soft budget constraints. The state still controls marketing and distribution of agricultural produce through the Ministry of Trade in urban areas and the Cooperative Alliance in rural locales; the Ministry of Agriculture’s Commercial Centre has a monopoly on cotton exports. Turkmenistan is highly dependent upon external sources for its agricultural inputs, the price of which has escalated more that those for agricultural products since independence.

The cultivation of fine-staple cotton and the raising of Karakul sheep, horses, and camels contribute most to the agricultural economy. The Karakul breed accounts for seventh-tenths of all sheep in the republic.

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