Kyrgyzstan has a huge potential for walnut growing development having the world biggest ancient walnut forests in the south of the country with a total area of approximately 41 thousand hectares, and the fruit yield of which is up to 5 thousand tons per year. Favorable climate conditions, lands and manpower are available to boost walnut production. Only the combined efforts of farmers, scientists and government bodies are needed.
Increased walnut exports can bring significant profits to the country's economy. In walnut, not only fruits are highly valued, but also other related products - wood, leaves, branches, roots, which are necessary as raw materials for the light, food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Today, the governments of most countries of the world are engaged in supporting this industry, counting on serious export revenue. For example, the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nuts of Chile said that in the coming years, this country plans to earn $ 1 billion in walnut exports since the state is already investing in the development of the industry. The walnut-growing sector in Kyrgyzstan has its great advantages. This is, first of all, the creation of new jobs and employment of the rural population, the restoration of depressed lands, high profitability of production, high export potential of products, environmental friendliness, a valuable set of nutrients and medicines.
World walnut production in recent years has reached more than 2 million tons. The largest producers of walnuts in the world remain China (850 thousand tons) and the United States (626 thousand tons) in total, producing about 70% of walnuts in the world. The following on the list of manufacturers are Iran (150 thousand tons), the European Union (130 thousand tons), Ukraine (127 thousand tons), Chile (120 thousand tons) and Turkey (63 thousand tons). The USA is the leader among world exporters of walnuts, according to the forecasts of the US Department of Agriculture, export volumes will grow by 4% and will amount to 727 thousand tons in 2018-2019. The final world reserves in 2018-2019 will grow by 27% and reach 149 thousand tons against the backdrop of a sharp increase in US reserves.
Kyrgyzstan needs to develop additional areas of walnut plantation area and create appropriate conditions for the development of the industry to reach a level of competitiveness in world markets. In 2014, the Walnut and Forest Growers Association of Kyrgyzstan launched a socially-oriented pilot project for the growing and adoption of new varieties of walnuts at an industrial level. The Association imported 30 thousand seedlings of intensive industrial walnut varieties from Turkey and planted on 100 hectares of land to increase the export potential of walnuts. In support of the National Development Strategy of the Kyrgyz Republic for 2018-2040 and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic's program for the development of exports of the Kyrgyz Republic for 2019-2022, the Walnut and Forest Growers Association of Kyrgyzstan proposes to create a “Technology Center for Walnut Crops” within the framework of a public-private partnership (PPP) with the aim of technological processing and export of walnuts. In terms of gross walnut production, Kyrgyzstan ranks first among the countries of the Eurasian Union and this industry brings gross revenue to the country, being fully export-oriented.
The Technology Center for Walnut Crops sets the following tasks:
- assistance in creating a legislative framework for expanding the walnuts and other nut-crops;
- involvement of scientists, breeders, producers, testing varieties and hybrids of nut products in Kyrgyzstan;
- taking measures to create, improve, develop the infrastructure of the market for nut products and its processing;
- participation in the analysis of problems (economic, social, legal, technological) in the field of development of walnut growing;
- implementation of measures for the development of international cooperation in the walnut industry;
- to study, assimilate and introduce advanced innovative technologies;
- participation in international information exchange.
We are currently negotiating with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and soon, we plan to launch a project to create a "Technology Center for Walnut Crops" as part of a public-private partnership (PPP).
We are confident that the implementation of the project to create a technological center for walnut crops in Kyrgyzstan will allow us to create additional areas of industrial plantings of intensive walnut species and increase high-quality products and gain a leading position in the global market.
Chairman of the Walnut and Forest Growers Association of Kyrgyzstan