Friday, May 25, 2012 -
Cotton farmers in southern Kazakhstan have gained access to a new $4.5 million state fund set up to promote expansion of the sector, an industry web site said on Friday.
The financial aid has been directed at cotton growers in Shardara and Maktaaral districts located in the Kazakh-Uzbek border province of South Kazakhstan.
The Kazakhstan Fund for Financial Support of Agriculture launched the initiative to promote cotton cultivation in the area.
The project was arranged in conjunction with the Irys Microcredit Organization, which offers six-month credit at an interest rate of only 2 percent, the fibre2fashion.com online news outlet said.
Nearly 500 farmers have already taken advantage of the deal, which commenced last month. Under the agreement, the farmers will make repayment in October or November 2012.
South Kazakhstan province is the only raw cotton-growing region in the vast Central Asian republic. Its farms produce some 40 percent of the total agricultural output of the province.
Yet cultivation plans are smaller this year than in 2011. Farmers planned to cultivate around 360,000 acres of area for cotton in 2012, down from 400,000 acres planted last year.
Bad weather conditions in 2011 resulted in the harvesting of only 380,000 acres.
Kazakhstan’s southern cotton growing area is located just over the border from vast cotton plantations in Uzbekistan.