The shrinking of the Aral Sea in Central Asia - caused by excessive withdrawals of water for irrigation, poor water management, and drainage in riparian countries - has devastated the livelihoods of people in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The consequences of the drying of the Aral Sea include salinization, soil degradation, desertification, and sand and dust storms.
The project’s overarching goal is to reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers in Karakalpakstan and improve their adaptive capacity to prevent economic losses associated with land degradation. The project is a step towards mitigating the effects of the Aral Sea disaster and promoting sustainable agriculture in the region.
In particular the project aims to enhance agricultural productivity in local communities through the introduction of climate-resilient, biosaline, and integrated modular farming systems. The project will increase incomes through the development of agri-business value chains and enhance knowledge, skills, and self-reliance through capacity development initiatives for local communities and stakeholders. In partnership with the Ministry of Innovative Development and the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, ICBA will introduce climate-resilient crops, best management practices, and integrated production models, as well as establish an ICBA-run seed production unit to cater to farmers’ requirements for quality seeds.
The project team will assess the performance of the existing irrigation infrastructure at three project sites to ensure that it provides the basic needs of irrigation, drainage, and safe disposal of collected drainage discharge. Capacity development will be undertaken through the training of trainers and farmer field schools. ICBA will also work with its partners to develop agri-business value chains and nutrient-rich value-added products for human and animal consumption.