Migration & Agriculture in Kyrgyzstan

In Kyrgyzstan, migrants move both internally from rural areas to Bishkek and Osh or abroad to countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan or Turkey for employment. Remittances from migration are critical for the economy. 

The development of Kyrgyzstan reveals two important trends: declining agricultural production and a steady increase of remittances from labor migration. These trends suggest a transformative effect of migration, negating an overlysimplistic investment effect of financial remittances on longstanding livelihood activities. Although many studies agree that labor migration contributes to poverty reduction in rural Kyrgyzstan, little attention has been paid so far to the question: What effect does migration have on rural development? The Kyrgyzstan research and policy dialogue team are investigating this core question athe interface between migration and rural development policyFrom this research they will develop key recommendations for stakeholders in both government and civil society. 

Developing a unified migration policy for the whole nation is difficult, but answers to this question can help strengthen the ways in which government and key stakeholders link migration with regional development goals.  

Research FocusCovid-19 & Migration

  • How does migration lead to changes in agricultural production (not just in farm activities but in the use of innovative technologies)? 
  • How is natural resource management adapted to migration outflows in rural areas? 
  • How does migration impact families, elderly and children who are ‘left behind?’ 
  • What configurations of gender roles and family relationships does migration produce in rural households? 
  • What is the role of education for children in migrant households, particularly during Covid-19? 

In response to the pandemic, AGRUMIG researchers and policy partners have conducted phone and socially distanced in-person interviews, and undertaken media analysis to understand the impact of Covid-19 on migrants in the country. Findings to date show that the public health crisis has decreased remittances and contributed to growing poverty, increasing vulnerabilities for migrants and demonstrating a need for stronger migration policy in Kyrgyzstan. 

Country Team Members

Asel Murzakulova, Senior Research Fellow, Mountain Societies Research Institute, University of Central Asia 

Roman Mogilevskii,   Director Institute of Public Policy and Administration, University of Central Asia

Aigoul Abdoubaetova, Head of Research and Training Unit, OSCE Academy in Bishkek 

Alexander Wolters, Director, OSCE Academy in Bishkek 







Nargiz Kulmyrzaeva, Finance Manager, OSCE Academy in Bishkek 






Elmira Nogoibaeva, Director, Public Union Center Polis Asia 

Irina Kuznetsova, Senior Lecturer, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham 






University of Central Asia  

The University of Central Asia (UCA) was founded in 2000 in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Its mission is to promote social and economic development across Central Asia, particularly in its mountain communities, by offering an internationallyrecognized standard of higher education and enabling the peoples of the region to preserve their rich cultural heritage as assets for the future. 

As a university focused on the development of mountain societies, UCA’s undergraduate programs are located at its purpose-built world class residential campuses in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan, and Khorog, Tajikistan near the Tien Shan and Pamir mountains respectively. The Tekeli campus in the mountain ranges of Kazakhstan is expected to start classes in 2022. The towns of NarynKhorog, and Tekeli offer culturally and ecologically rich environments and communities. By locating the campuses in secondary cities and rural settings, UCA hopes to be at the heart of an intellectual and economic transformation in the region. The campuses are also located along the Silk Road, a historic trade and transportation route, which for centuries facilitated the global exchange of goods, cultures, and ideas. 

Contact details:

University of Central Asia, 

720001 Kyrgyzstan Toktogul str.138 

+996 (312) 910 835 

OSCE Academy in Bishkek – Policy Partner 

The OSCE Academy in Bishkek is a regional centre for post-graduate education, capacity building, research, and dialogue, created under a Memorandum of Understanding between the OSCE and the Government of Kyrgyzstan. 

Within the framework of the AGRUMIG project, research in Kyrgyzstan is being carried out by the main partner, the University of Central Asia. The OSCE Academy serves as a platform for distributing insights from the research and as a connecting partner to wider audiences and stakeholders in Kyrgyzstan (together with consortium partner Polis Asia) 

Head of Research and Training Unit, OSCE Academy in Bishkek 

Contact details:

OSCE Academy in Bishkek 

 1 A Botanichesky pereulok, Bishkek, 720044, Kyrgyz Republic 

+996 312 543200/+996 3123 542313 

Analytical Center Polis Asia 

The Analytical Center Polis Asia will organize and coordinate dialogue on the project topic between interested actors (government and non-governmental organizations, mass media, communities, etc). The main goal of the dialogue is to develop a discourse on migration and agriculture in the region and to discuss research findings. 

Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Abdrakhmanova 204, fl 4 

 +996 706110068 

Contact point:

Nazikbek Kydyrmyshev Researcher, Project Manager 

Contact point:

Asel Murzakulova, Senior Research Fellow, Mountain Societies Research Institute, University of Central Asia  –

Aigoul Abdoubaetova, Head of Research and Training Unit, OSCE Academy in Bishkek – 

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