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Lack of irrigation water: 300 farmers hold rally in Bishkek

Farmers from four rural areas of Chui region of Kyrgyzstan hold a rally near the Government House in Bishkek.

«We, residents of Zhany-Zher, Zhany-Pakhta, Nizhne-Chui and Kamyshanovka rural areas, gathered here because of the lack of irrigation water. Water has become a commodity. There is lawlessness, there is no control from the authorities. This threatens the food security of the country and will lead to a lack of food supplies. We have heard that Kyrgyzstan has concluded an intergovernmental agreement with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The water was exchanged for electricity. What is more important water and bread or electricity? It is impossible to do without bread, it is possible without electricity,» Ulamidin Mamatkulov, a resident of Nizhne-Chui rural area told.

Another participant of the rally, Gulzhamal Abdykadyrova, said that no one takes into account the farmers. «Nobody signs a contract with us. Nobody takes responsibility, neither the head of the Ministry of Agriculture, nor the Prime Minister. If they sold water, let them openly say about it,» the woman said.

The protesters reminded that their four rural areas provide the capital with food products.

«If there is no water for another 10 days, it will no longer be needed. All the peasants will simply die. We will suffer huge losses. Who will reimburse them?» another farmer complained.

The Ministry of Agriculture said that the lack of irrigation water in Kyrgyzstan arose due to the fragmentation of farms and peasant farms, leading to a lack of rotation (alternation) of crops.

«All water canals were built during the Soviet era, and their capacity was calculated based on the crop rotation. Mainly grain crops were cultivated, but corn, fruit and berry crops are grown in the same fields now. The way out of this situation is the use of water rotation (turn intervals),» the ministry said.

Therefore, on the initiative of the ministry, the so-called headquarters were created in all regions to check the efficiency of water distribution.