The GEF Small Grants Programme

in Uzbekistan

Almonds - an alternative "cash" crop for the dry areas of Uzbekistan

The foothills and lowlands of Uzbekistan with low, medium and high water security are of interest to huge areas of land - more than 70 thousand. km2. Unfortunately, it is imperative to state that much of this land is currently being used unsustainably, is a thing of the past, or is being used to grow rich grain and oilseed crops. The biggest problem in the foothills and mountain areas is still too much overgrazing of livestock and, as a consequence, the disappearance of vegetation cover and degradation of the lands of these areas.

According to a comparative economic analysis of all possible ways of using land in the foothills and low mountains, it was revealed that pistachio, as a crop, has excellent characteristics for this zone - good food resistance and high availability in life. Also, pistachios are a good product to sell at a high price.

But in the first years of life, the pistachio grows very slowly. The wait for the first harvest can last from 7 to 11 years. During this period of time, the farmer will only be forced to bear costs, that is, this wait is risky for the pistachio grower. Although the expected pistachio nut will bring him well-being for at least the next 100 years or more.

Therefore, it is very important to find an opportunity to earn additional income from another crop during this waiting period. A crop that would grow in the same conditions and be capable of generating income in the first years of its life. Moreover, this crop must have significant and stable demand in the local market. And all these conditions are met by sweet almond varieties. In addition, almonds can also be perfectly used as an independent crop for placement on the same lands, and can be a good alternative to pistachios. But the very creation of combined varietal plantations of pistachio and almond can significantly increase the attractiveness of pistachio growing on the rainfed lands of Uzbekistan, thereby increasing the chances of forest cover in the dry foothill areas.

You can read more about the topic and project in the article