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Turkmenistan: President Niyazov On Agricultural Reform

Ashgabat, 20 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov has issued a decree on financial support for agriculture.

The decree published yesterday outlines agricultural reform by the state to supply cotton and grain producers with necessary fertilizers, pesticides and spare parts. Producers will have to pay only 50 percent of the price of the supplies -- and the remaining 50 percent will be covered by consumers, after the sale of agricultural produce to state reserves.

Niyazov also instructed Turkmenistan's Central Bank to open a $20 million line of credit to finance the purchase by individual producers of equipment to process farm produce.

The decree also said the state fund for the development of agriculture will allocate $16 million to support farmers in the coming year. And this fund and the State Agency for Foreign Investments will also consider ways to attract a projected $70 million in foreign investments for the construction of food processing enterprises.

At a three-day meeting in Ashgabat this week chaired by Niyazov, officials discussed land-reform proposals, including allocating land to peasants in order to raise productivity levels. Niyazov said it was necessary this year to spend $800 million from the state budget for grain imports.