Kazakhstan has become the third Central Asian country to plan a reduction in cotton cultivation in 2009.
Previously, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan announced cutbacks in the amount of land to be planted with cotton. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Kazakhstan's vice minister for agriculture, Arman Evniev, said falling demand for cotton meant farmers would be better off growing vegetables.
"The area under cotton [cultivation will be 84 percent of the previous year. In the liberated areas, we plan to grow vegetables and melons," the Kazakhstan Today news agency quoted Evniev as saying February 11.
The global trade of cotton is expected to contract by 21 percent and cotton prices are set to fall by an estimated 16 percent in 2009, the International Cotton Advisory Council has said. In 2008, Kazakhstan planted 165,000 acres of cotton.