Agriculture is one of the prior and large sectors of the national economy. Uzbekistan is one of the most favorable regions for growing various agricultural as well as industrial crops.
Agriculture is a leading sector by number and proportion of all of the employed in the economy. The sector provides population with necessary food, and raw to other branches of economy. Nearly 63 percent of the population in Uzbekistan now resides in the countryside. The sector shares 28 percent of the total national GDP. The large part of the sown areas, and the most of them under industrial crops - are the irrigated lands with a powerful state irrigation system.
Since Uzbekistan gained its independence, the state has been undertaking major reforms on the land ownership.
The Soviet-type collective farms were restructured to joint stock and other non-state agricultural entities. The share of the non-state sector has increased in the total amount of the agricultural gross product, and in 2001 it made up 99 percent.
New forms of entities such as farming enterprises have emerged in the countryside. The share of such farming entities in the total production amount is enormous.
One of the priorities of the reforms in agriculture is to develop forming enterprises. As of January 2002, more than 55,000 of farming enterprises, which own 1054,7 thousand hectares of land, have been registered in the country. On the average, each farm now owns 19 hectares of land. Such entities in the countryside usually produce more agricultural goods than other forms of agricultural entities produce on the average nationwide. According to the latest data, they produce 18,5 percent of all grain crops and 21,6 percent of cotton in the country.
The cornerstone of the land policy is a rejection of the direct state regulation of agriculture.
Over the last years, the prices for almost all of agricultural goods went up. Only the cotton prices raised six fold.
Along with economic regulation, the state renders direct assistance to the agriculture both by exempting from taxes and granting subsidies.
Over the recent years, the state has been taking significant measures to overcome disproportion in development of agriculture and avoid a dominance of the cotton growing in the sphere. Thus, the areas under cotton-plant are now being cut and further used for other food and feed crops, respectively.
With a view of realizing the rational schemes of rotation of crops sowing and achieving the self-sufficiency in grain, the areas under cotton have been enormously cut and fixed at the level of 1,5 million hectares.
As a result, the land and structure of the sown areas has seen a huge redistribution. The role of the state sector in agriculture decreased, with forming practice now prevailing in the rural areas.
The cotton growing is a leading sector in agriculture. As a northernmost cotton producer in the world, Uzbekistan annually achieves bumper harvests of raw cotton.
The modernization of the cotton-growing practice is now underway. Except for the cotton-plant, there are other industrial crops are also grown, such as ambary and jute. The stronghold of the areas under such crops is in Tashkent province.
The grain production develops as well in the dry land areas with growing of wheat and barley. The corn is grown on the irrigated lands.
In addition, the areas under grain crops are on the rise. It should be underscored, that Uzbekistan succeeded in securing the self-sufficiency in grain.
To achieve better results in the grain growing practice, a lot is being done in terms of upgrading the machinery used in the field. In this regard, the local machine building companies have launched successful cooperation with their foreign partners in the United States, Germany, and other countries on manufacturing modem harvesting technology and tractors.
The main areas under rice are in the Republic of Karakalpakstan and Khorezm province.
One of the ancient sectors of agriculture - the silkworm breeding - has an important economic significance with its centuries-long traditions. There is still a constant need for the national fabric due to the unique hygiene features of natural silk given the hot climatic conditions in the country. The product of the silkworm breeding -silk cocoons - is the main raw for making the natural silk.
With the latest technology used in the field, farmers produce the high quality cocoons, and breed productive species and hybrids of the silkworm. The country produces nearly 30,000 tons of cocoons of the silkworm, and 70 percent of then fare processed into silk-raw, and the= rest is exported.
Uzbekistan is the largest producer of vegetables, fruits, and grapes, which are uniquely delicious. The climatic conditions allow for several harvests a year.
The specialized farming enterprises in the countryside grow mouthwateringly delicious apples, pears, quinces, grapes, sweet cherries, cherries, plums, apricot, as well as subtropical crops, such as pomegranate, persimmon, and in the southernmost regions - the sugar-cane. On the sugar content and other features, fruits and vegetables grown in Uzbekistan are regarded as the best in the Orient.
The grape serves a good source for winemaking industry. The winemakers of the country annually produce more than 30 sorts of wines, as well as various sorts of cognac and Champaign.
On the international exhibitions, tasting, and other competitions Uzbekistan's winemakers secured 92 medals.
Besides, fruits and grapes are used in making of juices, fruit compotes, jams, drinks, and dried fruits, respectively.
Melons and watermelons grown in the country are mouthwateringly delicious due to the established good practice of growing, as well as long sunny days observed during the summer nationwide.
The Urgut district in Samarkand province is famous for its tobacco growing.
The animal husbandry plays no less significant role in Uzbekistan's agriculture. The sheep breeding, in particular, is an important sector with its historical traditions of astrakhan fur making. The given sphere is based mainly in Bukhara, Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya, Samarkand, and Jizzakh provinces, as well as the Republic of Karakalpakstan.
As a whole, the country has secured the rise of number of sheep and goats, as well as other livestock. The ownership rights with farms were reviewed and further privatized.