With the IFAD-funded ICARDA project to streamline the creation and use of knowledge about sustainable land management (SLM) in the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), efforts to combat land degradation in Central Asia have received a new impetus. This initiative aims to improve knowledge on SLM practices in the region, tailor this practical knowledge to the needs of local populations and authorities as well as shape better informed policies. It also intends to establish a platform to consolidate knowledge and promote sustainable land management approaches and technologies that have already been devised by researchers in the five Central Asian countries.
Partners of the knowledge management project of the Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM, Phase II) convened an annual steering committee meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, on 24 June, 2015 to review the progress and results of the project's second year and plan activities for the third year. Around 20 participants from government organizations, research institutes, regional and international organizations met to discuss the progress so far and future plans.
To date, the project has gathered and systematized tens of SLM practices applicable in the four main agro-ecosystems of the region: rainfed, irrigated, mountains and rangelands. Most of them have been tested at demonstration sites in each of the five countries. Among these practices are zero and minimum tillage, raised-bed planting, use of improved crop varieties and intercropping practices, water-saving technologies, non-traditional fertilizers, rotational grazing in desert regions, agro-forestry melioration for rehabilitation of degraded irrigated lands and others.
These practices are promoted through different channels and events. For example, ICARDA, the Kazakh Research Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry and the Kazakh Research Institute of Animal Breeding and Forage Production organized a field day titled ‘Development of productive pastures in rainfed and irrigated lands using 'green' technologies’ on 2 July, 2015 at the Zhaynak experimental site of the Kazakh Research Institute of Animal Breeding and Forage Production in Iliy district of Almaty Region, Kazakhstan. The field day was attended by over 50 participants, including the district mayor, local officials, researchers, farmers and other land users. In particular, the participants looked at ways of cultivating forage crops using treated waste water.
As a partnership between the Central Asian countries, international donors and research-for-development organizations, this project underlines the benefits of collaboration. The initiative also supports the region in implementing the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. The ultimate goal is to ensure that there is more food without much cost to the environment.