Development of Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems in Degraded Areas of Karakalpakstan

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.

Research Innovation Theme
  • Management of natural resources in marginal environments
  • Climate change modelling and adaptation
Project SDGs
SDG 2: Zero hunger
SDG 3: Good health and well-being
SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
SDG 14: Life below water
SDG 15: Life on land
The project will benefit directly up to 15,000 farmers and agropastoralists and indirectly their households (up to 75,000 people in total).
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD)
May 2022 - May 2026
Project Lead
  • Dr. Asad Qureshi
  • Dr. Aziz Karimov
Project Region
Central Asia and Caucasus
Project Countries
  • Ministry of Innovative Development and Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, 
  • International Innovation Center for the Aral Sea Basin (IICAS)