Agrarian Reform and Water Resource Management: A Case Study and Lessons from Tajikistan
Navruz Nekbakhtshoev a*, Suresh Chandra Babu b
a Indiana University, 107 South Indiana Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
b International Food Policy Research Institute, Eye Street, 1201 I St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
This article belongs to the Special Section “30 years of farm restructuring and water management reforms in Central Asia”
This paper examines the preconditions for collective action in the context of Water User Associations (WUAs) in Tajikistan. The paper uses qualitative case studies of five WUAs from three cotton-producing districts of Khatlon region in Tajikistan. Findings suggest that the ability of WUAs to generate collective action for the benefit of the rural community depends on factors internal and external to WUAs. The WUAs in our study tended to exhibit top-down organizational forms which might not bode well for their sustainability. WUAs were set up by donors in a setting where large, collectivized farms and vestiges of command agriculture persist alongside small individual farms. The presence of large farms among smaller holdings makes it difficult for WUAs to distribute water equitably among its members. Local government officials tend to favor the interest of big planters over small independent farms and can exert pressure on WUAs to skew water distribution. By studying the institutional challenges facing water resource management in Tajikistan, a major natural resource challenge facing all the Central Asian economies, the paper identifies opportunities for speeding up the process of agrarian reforms currently underway in all the transition economies.
Available in EnglishDownload the article (eng)
For citation: Nekbakhtshoev, N., & Babu, S. C. (2022). Agrarian Reform and Water Resource Management : A Case Study and Lessons from Tajikistan. Central Asian Journal of Water Research, 8(1), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.29258/CAJWR/2022-R1.v8-1/1-26.eng
Araral, E. (2005). Bureaucratic incentives, path dependence, and foreign aid: An empirical institutional analysis of irrigation in the Philippines. Policy Sciences, 38, 131–157. https://doi.org/10.1007/ s11077-005-2309-2
Asian Development Bank. (2016). Country Partnership Strategy: Tajikistan 2016-2020. https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/linked-documents/cps-taj-2016-2020-ssa-03.pdf
Balasubramanya, S., Buisson, M.C., Saikia, P., MacDonald, K., Sohrob Aslamy, Horbulyk, T., Hannah, C., Yakubov, M., & Platonov, A. (2016). Impact of Water Users Associations on Water and Land Productivity, Equity and Food Security in Tajikistan. International Water Management Institute. https://publications.iwmi.org/pdf/H047847.pdf
Bardhan, P.(1993). Analytics of the institutions of informal cooperation in rural development. World Development, 21(4), 633-639.
Bardhan, P., & Dayton-Johnson, J. (2002). Unequal Irrigators: Heterogeneity and Commons
Management in Large-Scale Multivariate Research. In National Research Council(Ed.), The drama of the commons. The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10287
Feiock, R.C. (2013). The institutional collective action framework. Policy Studies Journal, 41(3), 397425. https://doi.org/10.1111/psj.12023
Hannah, C. (2018). When the canals run dry: New institutions and the collective governance of irrigation systems in Tajikistan. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Duke University.
Hardin, R. (1982). Collective action. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Hierman, B., & Nekbakhtshoev, N., (2020). Exploiting norms: gender, local elites, and farm individualization in Tajikistan. Central Asian Survey, (40) 2, 159-178. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937 .2020.1843406
Horbulyk. T., & Balasubramanya, S. (2018). Impact of water users associations on water and land productivity, equity and food security in Tajikistan. International Water Management Institute (IWMI). https://www.globalwaters.org/sites/default/files/impact-water-user-associations-tajikistan.pdf
Jones, D., Nekbakhtshoev, N., & Spechler, D. (2016). Collective action for rural village development. Development, 58, 385–389. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41301-016-0010-8
McGinnis, M. D., & Ostrom, E. (2014). Social-ecological system framework: initialchanges and continuing challenges. Ecology and Society, 19(2). https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-06387-190230
Meinzen-Dick, R., Raju, K. V., & Gulati, A. (2002). What affects organization and collective action for managing resources? Evidence from canal irrigation systems in India. World Development, 30(4), 649–666. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0305-750X(01)00130-9
Miller, G. J. (1990). Managerial dilemmas: Political leadership in hierarchies. In K. S. Cook & M. Levi (Eds.), The Limits of Rationality. The University of Chicago Press.
Mukhamedova, N., & Wegerich K. 2018. The feminization of agriculture in post-Soviet Tajikistan. Journal of Rural Studies, 57, 128–139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.12.009
Mukherji, A., Blanka F., Tushaar S., Suhardiman, D., Giordano, M., & Weligamage, P. (2009). Irrigation Reform in Asia: A Review of 108 Cases of Irrigation Management Transfer. Asian Development Bank.
Nekbakhtshoev, N.(2020). Institutional design, local elite resistance and inequality in access to land in cotton-growing areas of Tajikistan. Central Asian Affairs. https://doi.org/10.30965/22142290bja10012
Olson, M.(1965). The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups. Harvard University Press.
Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge University Press.
Ostrom, E., Gardner, R., & Walker, J. (1994). Rules, games, and common-pool resources. University of Michigan Press.
Ostrom, E.(2007). Collective action theory. In Boix. C & Stokes.S.C (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of comparative politics. Oxford University Press.
Ostrom, E. (2009). A General framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems. Science, 325(5939), 419-422.
Porteous, O. (2005). Land Reform in Tajikistan: From the Capital to the Cotton Fields. Dushanbe: Action Against Hunger. https://nature.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/user/profile2/main/publications/landreform.pdf
Posner, D.N. (2004). Civil society and the reconstruction of failed states. In R. I. Rothberg(Ed.), When states fail: causes and consequences. Princeton University Press.
Rap, E. (2006). The success of a policy model: Irrigation management transfer in Mexico. The Journal of Development Studies, 42 (8), 1301-1324. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220380600930606
Rap, E., & Wester, P. (2013). The practices and politics of making policy: Irrigation management transfer in Mexico. Water Alternatives, 6 (3), 506-531.
Sehring, J. (2006). The Politics of Irrigation Reform in Tajikistan. [Discussion paper]. Zentrum fur Internationale Entwicklungs und Umweltforschung, No. 29. http://hdl.handle.net/10419/21925
Sehring, J. (2007). Irrigation reform in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Irrigation Drainage System, 21, 277–290. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10795-007-9036-0
Sehring, J. (2020). Unequal distribution: Academic knowledge production on water governance in
Central Asia. Water Security, 9 (100057). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasec.2019.100057
Shenhav, R., & Domullodzhanov, D. (2017). The water-energy-food nexus in Tajikistan: The role of water user associations in improving energy and food security. Central Asian Journal of Water Research, 3(2), 54-72.
Shenhav R., Stefanos Xenarios, & Daler D. (2019). Agricultural water management in Tajikistan: The role of water user associations in improving the water for energy nexus.[Technical Report]. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. https://www.osce.org/programme-office-in-dushanbe/413228
TAJSTAT. (2018). Labor Market in Tajikistan. Agency for Statistics under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. https://stat.ww.tj/publications/June2019/labor-market-2018.pdf
TAJSTAT. (2018). Tajikistan in figures. Agency for Statistics under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. https://stat.ww.tj/publications/June2019/tajikistan-in-figures-2018.pdf
Tsai, L. (2011). Friends or Foes? Nonstate Public Goods Providers and Local State Authorities in Nondemocratic and Transitional Systems. Studies in Comparative International Development, 46(1), 46-69. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-010-9078-4
Uphoff, N. (1992). Learning from Gal Oya: Possibilities for participatory development and post-Newtonian social science. Cornel University Press.
World Bank. (2009). Agricultural activities, water, and gender in Tajikistan’s rural sector: A social assessment of Konibodom, Bobojon Ghafurov, and Yovon. https://doi.org/10.1596/28124
World Bank. (2012).Farmer and farm worker perceptions of land reform and sustainable agriculture in Tajikistan. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/11897/AAA810REPLACEM00final0report0Jun028.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
World Bank. (2020). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.TRF.PWKR.DT.GD.ZS?contextual=max&locations=TJ [Data]
World Bank. (2021). Tajikistan. https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/tajikistan/overview [Fact sheet]
Zhang, W., & Abitbol, A. (2016). The Role of Public Relations in Social Capital. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies , 6(3), 211-234.https://ecommons.udayton.edu/cgi/ viewcontent.cgi?article=1043&context=cmm_fac_pub