Kyrgyzstan Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

The most important branch of agriculture in Kyrgyzstan is livestock farming, which has a long tradition in the country where many used to live as nomads. The Kyrgyz keep mainly cattle, sheep and goats, but they also breed equestrian horses and camels.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Kyrgyzstan. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

Nearly two-thirds of the population live in the countryside and many of them feed on livestock farming, sometimes in combination with cultivation. Nearly a quarter of the country’s formal labor force is found in agriculture. Wool, meat and skins are important agricultural products.

Only 7 percent of the land area is cultivable in mountainous Kyrgyzstan. About 70 percent of the cultivated land must be irrigated. Cotton is mainly grown on irrigated fields in the Fergana Valley in the southwest. Other important crops are wheat, maize, potatoes, barley, fruit, vegetables and tobacco. There is also the cultivation of opium poppies and other plants that can constitute raw material in drug production.

The privatization of old Soviet collective agriculture has been difficult. Traditionally, ownership of grazing land was an issue that was decided by the large families / clans, but in a 1998 referendum, the right to private ownership of land was recognized. For Kyrgyzstan defense and foreign policy, please check recipesinthebox.

Kyrgyzstan receives foreign aid for the conversion of agriculture to more profitable crops, such as grapes and sunflower seeds instead of wheat, which are grown cheaper on the nearby Kazakh steppes.

There is a great deal of fishing in the many rivers of Kyrgyzstan and in the deep and extensive mountain lake Issyk-Kul, about 1,600 meters above sea level.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

11.6 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

55.0 percent (2016)

  • Offers how the 3-letter acronym of KYR stands for the state of Kyrgyzstan in geography.



Jeenbekov takes over as president

November 24

Sooronbai Jeenbekov from the Social Democratic Party will take office as president. Jeenbekov is close to former President Atambayev and has his support.


Government noble Kazakh assistance

October 20

The Kyrgyz government is submitting a bill to Parliament to terminate an agreement with Kazakhstan, according to which the neighboring country would provide support equivalent to about US $ 100 million to improve Kyrgyz infrastructure. The decision is made after a period of political tension between the two countries, after Kyrgyzstan accused Kazakhstan of trying to influence the Kyrgyz electoral movement ahead of the recent presidential election. The government says it does not need the Kazakh money but intends to find other funding. The Kyrgyz infrastructure needs to be adapted to the level of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEA). The bill is later adopted by Parliament and then signed by the President.

The losers of the election admit to being defeated

October 16

Ömürbek Babanov, who received one-third of the votes in the presidential election, claims that there have been irregularities and pressures on voters from government officials, but suggests he has no plans to appeal the result. OSCE observers say the election was marred by misuse of public funds, pressures and voting. Nevertheless, the OSCE considers that the candidates have generally been allowed to run campaigns without restrictions and that the election has meant that the democratic institutions have been strengthened.

Friend of Atambayev becomes new president

15 October

The recently resigned Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov from the Socialist Party wins the presidential election with 54 percent of the vote. The foremost challenger, the oil billionaire Ömürbek Babanov from the Fatherland, receives 33.5 percent. Jeenbekov is close to the outgoing President Atambayev and has his support.


Demonstration of fair elections

September 30th

Thousands of people are demonstrating in Bishkek demanding that the upcoming presidential election take place in honest forms. They object to what they see as attempts by some candidates to bribe voters and utilize “administrative resources” to win the election. They refer to how parties and candidates utilize their access to media and government money to influence voters. At the same time, the security service announces that opposition politician Kanatbek Isayev has been arrested for trying to stir up unrest before and after the election with the aim of carrying out a coup.

Protest against Kazakh intervention

September 20

The government submits an official protest against Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev meeting with Kyrgyz opposition presidential candidate Ömürbek Babanov. After the meeting, Nazarbayev is said to be willing to “cooperate with a new president whom the Kyrgyz people trust”. According to the Kyrgyz government, the meeting and the statement are an interference with the country’s internal affairs and an attempt to influence the presidential election on 15 October.


Title lists are rejected

August 31st

The Election Commission disapproves of the nearly 39,000 signatures collected for the demand that incarcerated opposition politician Ömürbek Tekebajev be allowed to stand in the presidential election. According to the Election Commission, the collection has not been properly funded. A day later, the Supreme Court ruled that the Commission’s decision was correct.

Isakov new head of government

August 26th

President Atambayev appoints his Chief of Staff Sapar Isakov as new Prime Minister since Parliament approved by a large majority. The new head of government is 40 years old and has a past as a diplomat. He is considered to be close to Atambayev.

The Prime Minister resigns before the presidential election

21th of August

Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov resigns to run for office in the October 15 presidential election. He is running for Social Democrats and is close to outgoing President Atambayev. So far, 56 candidates have registered, but most are expected to be eliminated by the Election Commission. In August, two people are expected to be sentenced to long prison terms. Acting Prime Minister will be Muchammetkalji Abulgazijev, who has been Deputy Prime Minister.

Prison for probable presidential candidate

August 16th

Opposition leader Ömürbek Tekebajev is sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption (see February 2017). The verdict means he cannot stand in the presidential election on October 15. Tekebajev, who is leading the leftist party of the Fatherland, is accused of receiving bribes from a Russian businessman when he was deputy prime minister in a transitional government in 2010. He has long been an arch rival to the outgoing President Atambayev.

Party merger before the presidential election

August 7th

The three opposition parties Progress, the Fatherland and My Country – Kyrgyzstan announce that they have decided to merge and bring forward a joint candidate in the parliamentary elections in October. What the new party is to be called, and when it should be formally formed, is not said.

Prison for opposition leaders

August 2

Opposition politician Sadyr Japarov is sentenced to 11.5 years in prison. He is found guilty of taking a former governor hostage in connection with demonstrations in October 2013. Japarov had announced his intention to run for office in the October presidential election.


Presidential election in October

May 29th

President Atambayev announces that presidential elections will be held on October 15. He must not stand for re-election. Among the opposition, there are many who believe that he intends to try to retain power by becoming prime minister, whose position vis-à-vis the president has been strengthened.

It is proposed that the Prime Minister become President

May 17

The ruling Social Democratic Party nominates Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov as its candidate in the presidential election later this year. Formally, he will be appointed at a forthcoming party congress. The decision is expected to lead him to succeed President Atambayev, whose term expires during the year.


Prison for opposition politicians

April 17

Three opposition politicians are sentenced to prison for between 12 and 20 years for advocating a coup in a broadcast via internet radio. They claim that the audio tape presented in court has been heavily edited.


Opposition leaders are being prosecuted

March 27th

The party’s acting chairman, Almambet Sjykmamatov, is charged with corruption and banned from leaving the country. In total, at least five prominent members of the Motherland are at risk of being sued for what they themselves claim are inventive accusations. The party claims that the interventions aim to spoil the party’s chances in the November presidential election.


Opposition leaders seized

February 25th

Ömürbek Tekebajev, leader of the Socialist-oriented opposition party Fosterland, is arrested by police and charged with corruption linked to a telecom company. He is one of the toughest opponents of President Atambayev, but has not said whether he plans to run for office this fall. The arrest triggered protests in several cities, including in Bishkek where thousands of people gather outside the security service building. A court orders Tekebaev to be detained for two months until trial. The arrest is ordered the day before Russian President Putin comes on official visit to Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, he is banned from running for office in the November presidential elections.

Presidential elections in November

February 15

Presidential elections are announced until November 19. President Atambayev’s term expires in early December. So far, two former prime ministers and one opposition leader have announced that they are running for president. The dominant Social Democratic Party, which is close to Atambayev, has not yet appointed its candidate.


Criticized life sentence is fixed

The life sentence against ethnic Uzbek journalist Azimjon Askarov is set by a high court. He is convicted of incitement against ethnic groups and for having been behind mass demonstrations in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010, which led to riots in which about 400 people were killed. The UN Human Rights Commissioner had appealed that he should be released, because he was arrested on all innocent grounds and tortured in prison (see also June / September 2010, July 2015).

Kyrgyzstan Agriculture and Fishing