After a troubled year, Kyrgyzstan is experiencing a glorious spring. But many farmers have experienced financial hardships that will limit their ability to get the spring planting done that will ensure a good fall harvest. In response to this crisis, the U.S. government (USG), through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (GOK), have officially launched the Seed Assistance Voucher Program. USAID awarded $ 4.1 million to increase improved seed use in Kyrgyzstan during the spring planting season of 2011. The program was jointly designed by the USG and the GOK, and is being jointly implemented by a USAID implementer and the GOK through its Ministry of Agriculture.
The ceremony to launch the project took place at the Djail Farm, Alekseevka village, Chui Oblast. The Minister of Agriculture, Torogul Bekov, and the U.S. Charge d'Affairs, Larry Memmott, opened the event, in which farmers were given some of the first seeds that will soon be planted in the fields. Each participating farmer, cooperative, and seed farm will receive a voucher that will be exchanged for a specific commodity at the seed distribution point. The proposed program is intended to supply improved seeds of barley, potato, safflower, and sugar beet for the spring planting season staring this month.