The fact that Kyrgyzstan suffers from a lack of natural resources and a limited industry has made the Republic one of the poorest members of the CIS. Business is highly differentiated on the basis of ethnic boundaries. About 75 percent of farmers are Kyrgyz, while other ethnic groups make up the majority of industrial workers and other non-agricultural occupational groups. The traditional business catch in Kyrgyzstan has been livestock management, and it still forms an important part of the country’s economy. In line with the political release, Kyrgyzstan has launched a program for the privatization of the state sector, and a greater scope for free markets is foreseen.
According to Countryaah, the country was hit hard by the Russian financial crisis in 1998, but recovered somewhat during the early 2000s when new gold deposits were put into operation. However, the recovery turned out to be temporary, and the country ended up in financial problems again in the late 00s.
Agriculture is the main industry in Kyrgyzstan. Livestock control dominates, and cattle, sheep and goats are kept in large numbers (the production of wool is considerable). There is also breeding of riding horses and camels. About 7 percent of the acreage is cultivated, and about 45 percent is pasture. Half of the cultivated area lies in the river valleys, where irrigation is possible. The most important cereals are wheat and maize, but vegetables, tobacco and cotton are also grown. A land reform to lead to the privatization of cooperative agricultural land was initiated in the 1990s. However, the work has encountered widespread problems regarding the traditional ownership of grazing land.
Minerals and energy
The availability of fragile raw materials is limited. However, Kyrgyzstan is a significant producer of gold, antimony and mercury. Of these, gold production is of central importance to the country’s economy. Since 1997, when the first gold mine was opened, gold has dominated the country’s exports and has also been the driving force in the country’s industrial development. Coal, oil and natural gas are extracted to some extent. Water energy covers half of Kyrgyzstan’s electricity needs; There is also some export of electrical energy.
After World War II, industries for processing raw materials, e.g. coal, textile, clothing and food industries, increased in importance. However, the country’s engineering industry is of limited size and usually quite outdated. The exception to this is the gold industry, including the Canadian-owned Kumor mine, which accounts for about 10 percent of the country’s total GDP. The industry is mainly concentrated in the cities of Bishkek and Osh.
Tourism and gastronomy
Tourism in Kyrgyzstan was very limited during the Soviet era. The country’s spectacular natural conditions with high mountains and deep valleys have attracted more and more tourists during the 2000s. The political turmoil in the country in 2010 slowed the influx of tourists, but they have subsequently returned and in 2015 the country was visited by 3 million tourists. Mainly attracts hiking trails in Tien Sha and the tourist facilities at Lake Issyk-Kull. The majority of visitors come from neighboring countries. A major obstacle to the further development of the tourism industry is the country’s neglected infrastructure.
The kitchen is based on meat as well as vegetables, cereals, milk and cheese products, honey and fruit. The meat, mainly horse meat but also lamb and sheep meat, is usually served cooked and together with a dough product, for example in the national dish besjmarak, pieces of lamb meat cooked and served in sauce with square pasta pieces (lapsja) or with kefir (ajran). Sausages of horse meat (twenty-thick) are common. Vegetables and fruits are included in many dishes. An example is pumpkin, which can be filling in the popular stuffed pancakes (lepjesjki). Cheese production is an important industry, among other things, made carrot, a sour, stored cheese that is crumbled into various dishes. Apart from the flour dishes, apart from pancakes and thin bread, oladji, pieces of dough are fried in oil. Tea is often served with bread, honey, butter and dried fruit.