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GEF Small Grants Programme, Программа малых грантов в Узбекистане

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SERHOSIL — How to preserve soil fertility and increase yields?

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SERHOSIL — How to preserve soil fertility and increase yields?
On-going project

Uzbekistan as a continental state has a favourable geographic position. A large part of our country is located between two great Central Asian rivers — Amu Darya and Syr Darya, once being rough and deep. Agriculture, the main activity providing livelihood to the local population, was predetermined by the favourable environment. Our ancestors lived mainly a sedentary life and were engaged in farming during their centuries-long history. The land constantly gave food, the rivers brought live to the valleys. And life never stopped.

Over the years, a territory of Uzbekistan neither expanded, nor shrinked. But today the situation is different. The population of Uzbekistan has been steadily increasing over the years. The country saw its population grew many-fold since the beginning of the industrial age, along with many other countries. For example, here are some statistics:  One baby is born every 65.18 seconds. Every hour the population of Uzbekistan increases by 55.2 babies1. So far, nearly 30 million people live in our country.  At such a rate the population of Uzbekistan will rise beyond 43 million2 by the year of 2050.

Population growth and related food needs are undeniable.

These factors have given an inevitable rise to the shortage of land and fresh water.
The soil is gradually degrading, losing resources suited for farming and suffering from water deficiency. It fails to feed the expanding population and perform its natural functions, as it used before. We are still negatively affecting the soil, jeopardizing its functions by traditional irrigation techniques and large amounts of fertilizers and special chemicals. How many tons of mineral fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals are used on our land every year to produce food stuff and ensure the country's food security? One dare say these figures are nearly astronomical. But all these are chemical products. Considerable amount of these non-dissolved substances deposits in the soil, gets into drainage system with irrigated waters, and then into canals and rivers. And hydrological cycle is repeated. As a result, all these chemicals, theoretically intended to help us, poison the soil, contaminating it with waste.

All these facts tend to limit agrarian development potential.

These conclusions result in reasonable questions: How to preserve the soil fertility, improve its natural processes and boost the capacity of our land? How to increase crops yields? How to raise or at least maintain the quality of products? How to reduce production costs and improve profitability of the farming industry? This is a set of problems and challenges for farm experts, managing land resources, and decisions makers. Some of these problems are addressed under the common project of the Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan (AS RUz).

To summarize the specified questions one can single out the major task: how to manufacture maximum food and ecologically safe products at minimum cost and with reasonable reduction of technogenic and anthropogenic impact on the nature? To solve this challenge agricultural specialists have to find out innovative approaches and resource saving technologies.

Intense research work of the Institute's stuff members on the current issue was fruitful and a surprising solution was found. It is microalgae Scenedesmus. We wrote about it  in our newsletter.

Currently the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grant Programme is going to launch a low-tonnage production of a new biological product — Serhosil — under the common project with the Institution of Microbiology. This product was created using microalgae Scenedesmus and designed to sustain microbiological and biochemical processes in the soil considerably and increase the productivity of our lands. The effect of the product lies in algae property to initiate the crops growth.
 

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Obtaining stock culture
of the bioproduct Serhosil in a laboratory environment


This wonderful product was prepared by the researchers and experts of the Soil Microbiology Laboratory, Institute of Microbiology, AS RUz. The product is used to treat seeds before dropping, as well as fertilize all kind of crops when root watering and foliage spraying. The bioproduct Serhosil has an essential advantage — it is totally safe for man and animals and extremely useful for soil micro-organisms that ensure soil fertility.

To find out more about the product, its effect, its advantages and application, please read the design document.
Below is given the project budget.

alt - download project application

alt - download project budget


1 http://countrymeters.info/ru/Uzbekistan/

2 A. Irmanov, Human Capital in Uzbekistan: Current State and Trends. Tashkent, 2009

Tags: biotechnologies, increasing fertility and yields, degradation of lands, farmers, agrotechnologies, microalgae

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