Photo: by UNDP project

Agriculture is a resource intensive-production, affecting human health, livelihoods, and the environment. Besides, it has an important impact on the local economy in Osh province and Kyrgyzstan as a whole. In the context of the Central Asian region, crop production is impossible without proper irrigation and Kyrgyzstan has, comparatively, well-developed irrigation system. However, almost the entire agricultural land area of the country, where the irrigation infrastructure is developed, has been irrigated for many years by the typical surface way. This often increases the soil degradation processes and accompanied with intensive water loss (filtration and evaporation) that leads to crop shortage as a consequence of soil waterlogging and excessive irrigation time that doesn’t correspond to the requirements of the particular crop variety.

According to the international UNDP expert Ibragim Khashtyrov in the nearest future, this issue can aggravate the problem of food security of Kyrgyzstan caused by depletion and water logging of soil, which is the key actor in agriculture.

According to Ibragim Khashtyrov, implementation of the modern technologies in the irrigation system, based on the drip and sprinkling irrigation that meets the requirements of each specific field can make a significant contribution to solving the problems mentioned above. It can also contribute to the rational use and redistribution of water as well as to the conflict reduction among farmers caused by the water shortage during the period of active irrigation of crops.

Within the framework of the Project “Integrated development of Osh province” UNDP takes active actions in solving these problems. Currently, pilot lands were selected for the approbation of modern solutions in irrigation with the involvement of experts of one of the major Russian scientific institutions – All Russian Scientific Research Institute of irrigation and agricultural systems. During this week, experts Turapin S. and Mischenko N. conducted baseline research of pilot fields to assess the conditions on the ground and determine the most appropriate irrigation systems, taking into account the specific conditions of every pilot field site. It is expected that implementation of this initiative can provide a solution for such related issues as rational use of water resources both within the country and in a transboundary context; suspend and positively impact on the soil degradation processes; uniting separate farmers into cooperatives, which will increase production efficiency of agricultural land through implementation of unified and evidence-based technologies; to increase crop yields; expanding the area of irrigated land by rational water use corresponding to the soil needs and requirements of every variety; development of unused land, including disaster-prone sites. All these factors will improve the welfare of rural communities by involving their large agricultural production and profitability and minimize conflicts among farmers.

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