In the Soviet period, Turkmenistan specialised in cotton production. When the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a breakdown of agricultural trade links between the former Soviet republics, Turkmenistan could no longer rely on assured supplies of wheat in exchange for its cotton, and the food security situation deteriorated. The government launched the Zerno (Grain) Programme in 1991 to resolve emerging difficulties with wheat supply. The measures undertaken between 1991 and 2013 within the framework of this programme included the reorganisation of the government control system for agriculture, the transformation of the farming structure and the implementation of land and water reform. Massive investments amounting to USD 5.5 billion were made in opening up virgin lands for cultivation, developing new infrastructure for grain processing and purchasing new farm machinery. The special attention paid to the grain sector led to the rapid expansion of wheat production. Traditionally a wheat importer, Turkmenistan started exporting wheat in 2010. Projections by local experts suggest that, despite the expected population increase of about 30% over the next 15 years, Turkmenistan will be able to maintain wheat exports at the level of 200,000-400,000 tons annually. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017.