Drip irrigation helps farmers in Tajikistan grow crops and adapt to climate change – Tajikistan
In recent years, farmers in remote villages in Ayni district of Tajikistan have suffered huge losses as irrigation canals have been damaged due to climate change induced events such as rapid melting of excessive snow and precipitation.
For example, in 2017, the harvest decreased by 75% in the village of Urmetan, because the irrigation canal was damaged.
The same situation occurred in the great Zeravshan Valley in Tajikistan, where poor communities faced worsening erosion of arable land due to poor irrigation practices.
Climatic risks further exacerbate the demand for irrigation, accelerate land degradation and increase crop losses.
In 2020, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), with the support of the Government of the Russian Federation, implemented two drip irrigation systems in two selected orchards in the villages of Urmetan and Yori. This initiative complemented earlier tree planting activities on desert slopes as part of a disaster risk reduction and ecosystem restoration initiative.
Drip irrigation is an efficient system that delivers water directly to the root zone of plants, in the right amount, at the right time, so that each plant gets exactly what it needs, when it needs it. to develop optimally. It allows farmers to produce higher yields while saving on water as well as fertilizer and fuel.
Farmers are now happy to see that the irrigation problem has a lasting solution. As a result, they give a better yield. In addition, it reduces the risk of mudslides and flooding in villages located downstream. The villagers now want to intensify the practice using their resources.
“There is a shortage of arable land and with the project we have demonstrated to the villagers that natural resources can bring more if you use them efficiently,” says Safulloh Dustmuhammedov, one of the farmers, who is very happy to see that his idea of making the desert slopes usable come true.
As project experience shows, desert slopes turned into orchards can bring multiple positive outcomes: economic, disaster risk reduction, environmental restoration and aesthetics.
This initiative is part of the project “Strengthening Climate Resilience in the Agriculture and Water Sectors of Rural Tajikistan”. The project aims to integrate the best-tested technologies and practices for climate adaptation and to build the capacities of the local population. Drip irrigation technology is a valuable contribution to this goal.
Thus, UNDP continues to work with the government for a comprehensive approach to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.