The GEF Small Grants Programme

in Uzbekistan

What is the alternative to farming in the steppes?

Before we begin to tell you what exactly the project is planing to do, if it is, we will tell you a little bit of prehistory.

One of the farmers downstream Kashkadarya, was once at a seminar on pistachios. The seminar was organized by our project. He hit on the idea of pistachio. But Quruqsoy where the seminar was held is in the mountains, and the farmer Oripov lives on the plain, where there are simply too little precipitation. Where he lives, people live in quite simple terms. They live in huts smeared with clay. They only plant what they can, namely, melons and watermelons and a few others. But what is so remarkable about them? It is that they are all very happy people who always have smile on their faces. We have already written a story about this wonderful farmer. Read it, to better understand the context.

The fact that almost all economic activities in these lands, in conditions where there is practically no water is marginal. It is very hard for the farmers. Therefore, all of them are dreaming about an alternative. There are very much similar lands in Uzbekistan. Unfortunately, we do not know the exact numbers, but just look at the map.

The farmer himself had tried to plant pistachio. Watered, carrying water on a donkey. As it can be seen from the project, something was accepted. But it is very hard. The only source of water is the well, where donkeys pull the buckets of water from the well by pulling the rope. They drink this water and at the same time water the planted pistachios. They need a little bit more water. That is why they are hoping us to help them. All the neighbors watched the experiments with a big interest.

The idea of the project, which GEF SGP supports, is to show how with a minimal amount of water you can lay a garden with drought-resistant crops. Garden should bring much more revenue than the present practice of management. Foresters carded the amount of water needed to water almonds and pistachios in these conditions. If in the mountains pistachios needn't be watered, because there is a natural moisture, in this case there is still a need to moisture them, so that the garden roses. But there are still 3 question's to be answered:

Where to get water from?

How to ensure that water is being used sparingly and in the most effective way?

How to get it for a reasonable price?

These are the questions our project is going to answer. But how? Our ideas are the followings:

We will use water from groundwater sources. There is water there, but not enough. We will try to use every drop effectively. To do this, first of all, it must be raised from the ground. How to do it if there is no electricity? We will try to utilize energy efficient pump that runs on solar energy.

The water will be used by a simple drip irrigation system, which exists in the public domain on the Internet.

To be able to do everything cheap is impossible. But we will try to use the most appropriate option, and with the help of economic analysis in the project we will show how fast this alternative will pay off.

In other words, the aim of the project is to demonstrate the possibility of creating an affordable garden of drought-resistant crops in hard water scarcity.

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