Kyrgyz Soybean Farmers Grow Greater Profits in a New Market

Kubanychbek Alymbekov (left) shows his soybean field to the buyer, Stephen Maier of Oasis Agro.
Kubanychbek Alymbekov, left, shows his soybean field to buyer Stephen Maier of Oasis Agro.
USAID
Private sector partnership raises agricultural incomes for thousands
“I like to learn and experience new things. The secret of my success is to follow the technical requirements strictly.”

May 2018 — Kubanychbek Alymbekov, a 54-year-old farmer and father of five, cultivated clover and cotton for decades. He had never planted soybeans until spring 2017, when he learned that Oasis Agro, the largest producer of commercial animal feed concentrates in southern Kyrgyzstan, used soybeans as their main ingredient. He saw an opportunity.

Many livestock farmers in Kyrgyzstan rely on animal feed due to the long, harsh winters that limit pasturing. Historically, Oasis Agro struggled to source enough locally grown soybeans for their feed, forcing the company to import soybeans from neighboring Uzbekistan, incurring high transportation costs.

Realizing the high-earning potential of soybeans as cash crops for Kyrgyz farmers, Oasis Agro, in partnership with USAID, recruited hundreds of farmers, including Alymbekov, to grow the plants.

The USAID Agro Horizon project supplied Alymbekov with agricultural inputs, including soybean seeds and fertilizers, with the understanding that he would pay back the cost after harvesting his plot. The arrangement appealed to the farmer because he could not afford the necessary supplies. As a first-time grower of soybeans, Alymbekov received training and ongoing support from USAID and Oasis Agro on the best farming methods and latest technologies.

“I like to learn and experience new things. The secret of my success is to follow the technical requirements strictly. With soybeans, this meant thorough land preparation and proper control of unwanted plants and weeds. Because of this, I got the highest yield out of all 275 farmers,” said Alymbekov.

Come harvest time, Alymbekov produced 33 tons of soybeans on his 6.5 hectares of land and earned $8,235 in final profits — 44 percent higher than what he earned the previous year when the same land was planted with corn. This was also 30 percent more than what other soybean farmers with similar-sized plots produced.

Thanks to the additional income, Alymbekov was able to pay university expenses for both of his children. Next year, he plans to increase his production and continue supplying to Oasis Agro.

“Two hundred and seventy-five soybean farmers joined our program in spring 2017,” said Stephen Maier, program manager for Oasis Agro. “Kubanychbek did an outstanding job, even exceeding our highest expectations! We awarded him with a certificate of appreciation as the best soybean farmer. He is a great example for other farmers in his community.”

USAID helped Oasis Agro install two new 250-cubic meter grain bins, providing 300 tons of additional storage. Now the company can buy and store more soybeans from local farmers, increasing profit-earning potential. The extra storage also allows Oasis Agro to meet the demand of local and export markets year-round.

In 2017, through more than 50 partnerships, the USAID Agro Horizon project leveraged $25 million in private sector resources to empower over 20,000 farmers like Alymbekov in rural areas that suffer from poverty, labor migration, and unemployment. By improving opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs, USAID improves sustainable economic growth and stability in Kyrgyzstan. The project runs from 2014 to 2018.

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Last updated: May 02, 2018

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