Rural development in Southern Kyrgyzstan

Project description

Title: Rural development in Southern Kyrgyzstan; Integrated Rural Development Programme
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union
Country: Kyrgyzstan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic
Overall term: 2018 to 2022


30.6 per cent of Kyrgyzstan’s population lives below the poverty line and is concentrated in rural areas, the majority in the southern regions of Osh, Batken and Dschalal-Abad. A high unemployment rate and a lack of income opportunities force many young people to go abroad to work and support their families through remittances.

Dschalal-Abad is characterised primarily by agriculture, a sector in which one third of the working population is employed. Low productivity, however, means that incomes are very low, and that agriculture contributes only 16 per cent to the gross domestic product. Only a few farmers are integrated into market-driven supply chains. Non-adapted agricultural production is also a threat to ecological diversity.

owever, agriculture also holds great potential for environmentally-friendly production, processing and the resulting efficient marketing of agricultural goods, such as early vegetables for local markets and export products with organic, fair trade or wild collection certification. 
Service quality in the tourism industry is unsatisfactory and jobs are poorly paid, which makes this a low-income sector as well. However, the mountainous regions, nature parks and pilgrimage sites in Dschalal-Abad offer good opportunities to raise tourism to a higher level, to offer new and sustainable tourism products (e.g. educational tours on local flora and fauna or winter tourism to prolong the season) and thus to generate higher incomes. Thanks to its visa-free travel for numerous countries, Kyrgyzstan is in a good position to exploit this potential as well.


In Dschalal-Abad region, the population has more opportunities to earn an income, particularly in agriculture and tourism. Social measures also involve poorer and disadvantaged population groups, which improves the overall quality of life in rural areas.


The project is co-financed by the European Union. The active participation of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) in the implementation of fields of activity 1 and 3 through calls for proposals ensures that knowledge is anchored in the region and that these organisations are strengthened. 

  • Field of activity 1 is aimed at increasing competitiveness in those areas that have the potential to generate higher income. This is to be achieved through better cooperation (e.g. in producer groups, networks) within agricultural value chains and in tourism. 
  • Field of activity 2 improves the availability of services in rural areas, including advisory services, transport and logistics, quality control, purchase of agricultural inputs, market information and information for tourists. Improved availability has a positive effect on the quality and quantity of agricultural and tourist products. 
  • In field of activity 3 the project improves the capacity of local governments, civil society and private sector to jointly plan and implement social and economic measures. Projects planned through public-private dialogues address the tasks of the public sector, private sector and civil society. When implemented together, they contribute to socio-economic development. Social measures ensure the inclusion of the poorer sections of the population.

All fields of activity integrate young people and women, members of ethnic minorities and, where possible, people with disabilities. The project takes environmental aspects into account and ensures ecological and financial sustainability. Adaptation to climate change is considered particularly important in agriculture. By linking the fields of activity, the project helps create networks specialising in specific themes. The experience gained in the development of economic networks is incorporated into the implementation of Kyrgyzstan’s regional development strategy and the targeted master plan for cluster development.