Efforts to combat land degradation in ﬁve Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have received a new impetus with the establishment of a platform to consolidate knowledge and promote sustainable land management approaches and technologies that have been devised by researchers as well as farmers.
Among these practices are zero and minimum tillage, raised-bed planting, use of improved crop varieties and intercropping practices, water-saving technologies and non-traditional fertilizers, rotational grazing in desert regions, agro-forestry melioration for rehabilitation of degraded irrigated lands and others.
Two zero-tillage seeders and two raised-bed planters were provided to national partners in Central Asia in the framework of Knowledge Management in CACILM II project for further implementation of packages on demonstration sites.
In May 2016, CACILM II project jointly with Farming Institute of the Tajik Academy of Agricultural Sciences, organized a field day in farmer Nematullo Khushvakhtov’s land in Gissar district, Central Tajikistan, about 30 kilometers west of Dushanbe, to demonstrate cultivation of maize using newly-handed raised bed seeder.
Farmer Khushvakhtov first used raised-bed planting under zero tillage when he sowed winter wheat two years ago. He witnessed how the technology reduced manual labor, fuel and energy costs, and cut application of seeds from 200 kg/ha to 150 kg/ha. After he received a good harvest, neighboring farmers began using the same technology in their fields. The raised-bed planter, provided by Knowledge Management in CACILM II project, will serve farmers in the area for sustainable land use practices that also decrease labor expenses.
Also in May, during a field day seminar in Alamudun district, Chuy Province of Kyrgyzstan, zero-tillage seeder provided to the Ministry of Agriculture and Melioration was field-tested in the farm of Kamal Rashidov for further use on his demonstration plot. The farmer has 60 ha of land, half of which is located on rainfed area. He was introduced to no-till by Knowledge Management in CACILM II project team in 2013 and then expanded the demonstration site for the tested technology from 20 ha to 30 ha in 2014. He believes that no-till technology is of great importance for Chuy Province, where over 260,000 ha of land are used for cereals, leguminous crops, making about 40% of total land in Kyrgyzstan occupied by these crops.
Earlier in April, another zero-tillage seeder was presented to administration of Karauzyak district, located in northeastern part of Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan. According to Esbosyn Sydykov, director of Karakalpakstan Research Institute of Farming, the role of resource- and water-saving technologies is essential in the area, where climate is sharply continental with severe winters and hot summers, making crop productivity low. Thanks to crop rotation while using no-till, the farmers in the district can collect harvest twice a year, he noted during the seminar. Over 50 participants including Karauzyak district administration officials were demonstrated the sowing of maize using the newly-handed machine.
The same month, CACILM II project team jointly with Kazakh Research Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry presented raised-bed planter to farmer Karim Khudayberdiyev, for testing raised bed technology on irrigated lands of Almaty Region.
According to Dossymbek Syddyk, resource- and water-saving technologies expert of Southwestern Livestock and Crop Research Institute, Southern Kazakhstan has gained some experience on raised-bed technology since 2003. The technology is mostly used in seed production, as it provides a very high percentage of seed multiplication, he says.
Acting as an information repository and knowledge hub, this website helps to increase the use of innovations developed by the well-established CACILM Project in Central Asia. Its synthesis, compilation, and dissemination of current research provide a secure knowledge base that policymakers and other stakeholders can access and utilize to develop sustainable strategies capable of addressing the region’s severe land degradation.