The GEF Small Grants Programme

in Uzbekistan

Norvon: from cattle breeding to forestry

Probably, every resident of Uzbekistan travelled along the road Tashkent-Samarkand at least once in the life. And evidently everybody saw how severe and at the same time beautiful the sceneries along the road in Jizzakh region are. This territory like most of the territories of our country is situated in the drought area. The nature is especially fragile in these regions. Any trouble from the part of a man can lead to the degradation of drought ecosystem. The worse the nature functions become in this region the less fertile the land and all around become, the heavier is the peoples’ life who inhabit these territories. The fewer yields, the less grass on the pastures is, the less revenue people have and more problems the state has.

The lands of the piedmont and low-mountain area in Uzbekistan are used primarily for dry sowing of grains and also as pastures. The yield of grains within these territories depends basically on moisture content of a particular year, but it rarely exceeds 8-10 centner/ha and such yield happens once in 3-5 years. In other years the yield just covers the expenditures for seed material or it is absent at all.

Due to overgrazing, the pastures represent degraded, low productive, knocked-out lands. From year to year the situation is worsening due to more and more deficit of water: precipitations lessen more and more; their distribution is irregular; and their falling is quite unpredictable. This all is being caused by changes of the global climate. There is a very little hope that the situation will change for the better. It is more likely that moisture content will decrease and therefore the possibility of receiving acceptable crops on dry lands will decrease, as well as forage phyto masse on the pastures. If we take into account that the population is growing and everyone would like to have a cattle, the load to the pastures will be increased and this will lead to their further degradation.

In connection with this, there is a necessity to find alternative methods of management that could bring benefit to people in the conditions of the climate changes that are taking place and to restore the normal state and functions of the ecosystem in aridity regions for their further sustainable use. What can be done?

Our story

In Norvon settlement of Farish district, Jizzakh region, the livestock breeder Bustamkul Saidkulov is living. There is much land there, but water is in lack. The productivity is small. And Bustamkul has a dream to create a garden, so that every local resident would remember him. But how one can create a garden in the semidesert area where annual rainfall is not more than 300 mm.

The farmer came to us with the request to give him water. Many people come to the GEF SGP with such a request. We explained to him that much water is not the way out. We should study to live with a small amount of water and plant a garden without a “sea” of water. Our question was as follows: “What if we show you how to plant a garden and get profit from it, which will probably convince you to change your activity from animal breeding to gardening?”

In Uzbekistan there are plenty of tree sorts that can grow in dry conditions. Everybody knows pistachio and almond. There is a legend about the pistachio saying that it grows on the places where saint people were buried. That is why there is a prejudice that pistachio tree should not be planted – it must grow by itself.

The farmer has agreed with this. But we cannot help only one person, we should help as many people as possible. We decided to hold trainings on the lands of the farmer Bustamkul. Within the framework of our project all the local people in the district can see and learn on the land of Bustamkul farmer how to plant the pistachio and the almond, how to look after these crops, how to water them using a simple method that does not require much water.

Currently, the project is in full swing. Plantings on the land of more than 40 ha were conducted. The local people took part in planting. We were very happy to find that the residents who took part in planting cheated a bit and put seeds and seedling into their pockets. It made us happy because it meant that the people understood the benefits planting and would crop them in their plots. And the more people would start planting the better it is for them and for the nature.

Now the project is preparing a tutorial “How to plant and grow pistachio” for the wide distribution among other farmers with similar conditions in Jizzakh region and beyond this territory. Of course, this tutorial would be available in our site too.

Besides pistachio, dogrose, apricot, apple tree, a Circassian walnut, almond and a black pine were planted too.

In order that the farmer could have water, the project helped to install a wind solar generator which produces electricity. It supplies electricity for a pump which is pumping the water of the well. Therefore, the problem of electricity cutoff was solved and now water is always available. The pump is low-powered and is not able to pump out much water but it is more than enough for looking after the planted garden.

What is important in the first years after the planting? It is important to have enough moisture, so that the planting could be established and to protect it from cattle. The cattle problem was solved in a simple way, i.e. making a fence with barbed wire. But this is rather expensive. The planting of dog rose were cropped along the fence. After 2-3 years there would be a lively thorny fence which would prevent penetration of cattle to the plot, the barbed wire could be removed and used for fencing of other plots which could also be planted with trees.

The project approached the problem of water as follows. As it was mentioned, in order that water would be always available, solar-wind power generator was installed. The wind is blowing almost constantly. The wind and the sun create electricity (the project supplied two wind heads with a total generator capacity of 2 kW), the electricity pumps water by the pump which consumes little power. Water is collected in a tank or goes directly to the field. Watering of the planted pistachio was done with the help of a simple method which can be used by everybody. A plastic bottle is placed upside down next to the planted seedling. The bottom is cut off and water is poured into the bottle. The bottle cap is slightly opened or small holes are made in it, so that water could drip. Thus, the water is achieving the root of planted trees not immediately, but gradually, providing the required moisture.

The method of drip irrigation with the help of polyethylene pipes was also tested. The development of the Institute of Water Problems, Academy of Science of the Republic of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Land Reclamation was taken. Unfortunately, it did not show itself as a successful method of irrigation, because the tubes are constantly tearing and are not suitable for irrigation of an ordinary field or garden. Such system, as it was demonstrated by this test, is more suitable for greenhouses. Nevertheless, a negative result is also a result. Now others will know about this method of irrigation.

Overall, the project aims to show that the cultivation of forest is much more productive and economically profitable than cattle breeding. People should be reoriented from dealing with livestock to the forest. It is beneficial not only to people, but for nature too.

You can get more information about the project by calling to Bustamkul Saidkulov. Telephone number is +998 97 102 37 35 or you can write to him: But it would be better to go and see everything with your own eyes.

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Project publications

Recommendations on planting pistachio plantations similar to gardening type in Uzbekistan

As we have already noticed, according to the results of our project currently planting of varietal pistachio is the most profitable and most effective practice of land use on dry lands of the foothills of Uzbekistan. This practice is 50 times more profitable than planting of wheat on dry lands. These recommendations give enough detailed description of how to establish and grow pistachio plantation so that you and your children could have a stable income and land would not suffer.

These recommendations are prepared by the research workers of Republican research and production center of ornamental gardening and forestry (RRPCOG & F) Chernova G.M., Nikolyai L.V., Rakhmonov A.M., Tulyaganov T.E. in the form of practical manual for usage of forestry workers, farmers and local population during the assimilation of foothill and mountain lands for establishing pistachio plantations similar to gardening type.


Pistachio – the most economically attractive culture for the dry foothills of Uzbekistan
Economical analysis of cultivation the pistachio plantations

In this manual anyone who is interested in planting of pistachio plantations can find a calculations of indispensable investments and their profit. All calculations are also presented in Excel file below so everyone can paste his/her own numbers and see of how profit is changing, how much gain the farmers could get.

Economical analysis was prepared specially for the project by NGO KRASS specialists from Urgench. You can also ask them questions.

Download economical analysis

Calculations of economical analysis