Bad weather conditions will have a negative effect on the grain harvest in Kyrgyzstan this year.
"Because of climatic conditions, the wheat harvest in Kyrgyzstan could be 80% of what the country needs," Kyrgyz Agriculture Minister Alexander Kostyuk said at a session on the sowing campaign on Tuesday.
Because of heavy precipitation, landslides, and floods, 65,000 hectares of arable lands, mainly in the southern part of the republic, have remained without crops. In addition, some crops were damaged by frost in early April, the minister said.
"To provide an essential volume of grain, the Agriculture Ministry plans to increase planted farmlands by several thousand hectares in the northern part of the country - in the Naryn and Issyk-Kul regions, where the sowing campaign is only beginning," Kostyuk said.
The government could also buy grain from neighboring countries, he said.
Experts from the Agriculture Ministry estimate the amount of wheat Kyrgyzstan could import in 2003 at 200,000 tons.
Interfax, April 29, 2003