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Agricultural Knowledge and Knowledge Systems in Post-Soviet Societies

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Edited By Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Anastasiya Shtaltovna and Conrad Schetter

This volume addresses the crucial role of knowledge and innovation in coping with and adapting to socio-economic and political transformation processes in post-Soviet societies. Unique are the bottom up or micro-sociological and ethnographic perspectives offered by the book on the processes of post-Soviet transformations in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. Three thematic fields form the structuring frame: cultures of knowledge production and sharing in agriculture; local governance arrangements and knowledge production; and finally, the present situation of agricultural advisory services development.
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Competition Within the State, With the State and Beyond the State: Agricultural Extension in Tajikistan and the Struggles of Market Formation

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Introduction

Agriculture in Tajikistan has gone through deep transformations since the mid-1990s. During Soviet times, agricultural land was organized into collective farms (kolkhozes) or state run farms (sovkhozes). Inputs such as seeds or fertilizers were provided by the state (Beniwal et al., 2010; Kazbekov and Qureshi, 2011; Shtaltovna, 2013). Agricultural knowledge was produced by the agricultural ministries, agrarian universities, colleges and research institutes, academies of agricultural sciences, research centres, kolkhozes and sovkhozes (Morgounov and Zuidema, 2001; Kazbekov and Qureshi, 2011; Shtaltovna, 2015). After 1991, this system was subverted: the network of state institutions involved in agricultural related development collapsed, private land ownership was reintroduced and thousands of small farms, mainly family run, were established. Such large and abrupt changes have caused a decline in agricultural production, as small-scale farmers lacked experience and skills, legislation on land use was not clear, the internal market was not developed and agricultural inputs were expensive and difficult to procure (Shtaltovna, 2015). The political and economic environment was also not favourable: in 1992 a bloody civil war broke out in the country, further exacerbating the adverse effects of Soviet collapse (Akiner, 2001; Whitlock, 2002; Boboyorov, 2012; Mandler, 2013).

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