Written March 2009
KAED II is helping rehabilitate abandoned land for agricultural use through USAID-Kyrgyzstan’s Southern Initiative, which was launched in late 2008 in Markaz Ail-Okmotu in Batken Oblast in southern Kyrgyzstan. In addition to KAED, collaborators of the initiative include the Land Reform Project implemented by Chemonics International, Water Users Association Project implemented by Winrock and the Central Asian Micro Finance Alliance implemented by ACDI/VOCA.
An auction to rent 35 hectares (ha) of land was held on February 27, 2009. The next day, the renters began irrigation work, gathering and removing stones from the field and smoothing the roughness of the plots. Other work included plowing, harrowing in two traces, furrowing, cultivation and ditch-digging.
KAED has worked closely with the local government, making sure that the community plays an active role in the rehabilitation. The work was done in collaboration with farmers on a cost-share basis, in which KAED invested $15,000, and farmers invested $2,500. KAED II plans to invest $40,000 until the end of the growing season.
High-quality varieties of barley and alfalfa were purchased from farm stores run by the Association of Agribusinessmen of Kyrgyzstan AAK. The seeds were planted, and sprouts of barley and alfalfa have already surfaced.
KAED established a demonstration field on forage crops on 1 ha of irrigated arable land and will conduct field days, seminars and training sessions on forage crop cultivation and methods of land fertility improvement.
KAED is spending about $400/ha to bring the degraded land into full production. It is estimated that 30,000 ha of agricultural land is degraded nationwide. Rehabilitation will directly contribute to Kyrgyzstan’s food security.
Irrigating the land in Markaz, Kyrgyzstan.