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Turkmenistan Claims Record Grain Harvest

11 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov told a cabinet meeting yesterday that the country has achieved another record grain harvest, this year reaching 3.1 million tons.

Niyazov asserted that this year's grain harvest was enough to provide for the needs of the Turkmen people for two years.

At the start of the 1990s Turkmenistan's grain harvest was only about 70,000 tons annually. Under campaigns started by Niyazov in the late 1990s, that figure is officially said to have grown to two million tons in 2001 and 2.8 million tons in 2004.

Analysts remain skeptical about the Turkmen government's claims.

The government approved adding a new holiday -- Galla Bairami, or the Grain Holiday -- to be celebrated on 15 July.

A national museum called Ak Bughdoi, or White Wheat, will also be officially opened on 15 July in honor of the holiday.