Crop diversification and sustainable management of marginal land resources in three Central Asian countries (Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) is the focus of a four-year partnership involving ICBA, ICRISAT and ICARDA commencing in 2011.
To improve land productivity and livelihood of poor farmers living in salt-affected and degraded areas, dual-purpose pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br.) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench), two highly productive, nutritional early spring and summer crops, were introduced to fill existing gaps in grain and forage production in the Central Asian region. Socio-economic studies to provide sound costs/benefit estimates for all interventions, under realistic conditions of small farms, will be conducted.
In the second stage of desk studies the project team will evaluate the necessary institutional and legal changes to allow for production and marketing of sorghum and pearl millet by products. These measures will benefit small, remote, rural communities with limited land/water resources to ensure sustainable land use and provide additional income. Collaboration with farmer associations and the National Research Systems will guarantee implementation, whereas collaboration with academic research institutions will ensure the necessary data acquisition to allow out-scaling of project results to other Central Asian and Caucasus countries.
A Project Inception Workshop was held in Uzbekistan during June 14-16, 2011 to discuss the work plan and finalize first-year activities to commence July 1, 2011 in 2-3 sites in each country.
The seed of sorghum and pearl millet were produced by ICBA in collaboration with ICRISAT and sent to the CAC partners. In addition, local varieties of the same forage crops were also included in the trial.