DUSHANBE, August 18, Asia-Plus  -- A cotton-picking campaign has already been launched in a number of districts of southern Tajikistan, and they have yielded some 2,000 tons of cotton over the past two weeks.  Usually, the cotton-picking campaign in the country starts on August 20.  

Mr. Qodir Qosimov, Deputy Agriculture Minister, has told Asia-Plus that the cotton-picking campaign in the southern province of Khatlon, except Khuroson, Farkhor and Yovon districts, was launched in early August.  

According to him, the cotton-picking campaign this year has started 10 days earlier compared to the previous year.  “This year, weather conditions have proved to be more favorable for the cotton harvest and therefore the cotton-picking campaign has started earlier,” Mr. Qosimov said.  He also added that there would be no shortage of agricultural machines for picking cotton this year.  

“The only thing that may impede the cotton harvest in the country is the problem of provision of the cotton-growing farms with fuel,” said the Asia-Plus interlocutor, “Investors were supposed to already provide cotton farmers with fuel but the procurement of fuel is still slow to get going.”   .

According to information from the Ministry of Agriculture, the cotton-growing farms need 69,439 tons of fuel and lubricating materials for gathering the cotton harvest.  This year, 262,900 hectares of farmland in Tajikistan have been sown with cotton, which is 25,700 hectares fewer compared to 2005.  

This year’s cotton target has been determined at 550,000 tons, which is 60,000 tons fewer than last year.  Last year, Tajik cotton farmers have yielded 447,408 tons of cotton, which was 73.3 percent of the 2005 target that had been determined at 610,000 tons of cotton.