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Central Asia

Credit: Aziz Nurbekov

About our work 

The region of Central Asia is represented by four main agro-ecosystems: rainfed and irrigated agriculture, mountains and rangelands. The environment is characterized by low and variable rainfall and temperature extremes; the landscape is a mixture of mountains, deserts, and steppes. Water misuse and scarcity, forest and land degradation, increased salinity and water table are common in the region.

The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems in Central Asia is working towards enhancing food security for the rural poor and ensure environmental sustainability in dryland agro-ecosystems while enhancing social and gender-equitable development. DS focuses on target dryland areas/systems, identified by two criteria: (i) those with the most vulnerable populations, and often associated with severe natural resource degradation, environmental variability and social marginalization, and (ii) those with the greatest potential to impact on food security in the short to medium term.

Priority activities 

  • increasing efficiency and better management of natural resources, improvement of agricultural crops, livestock, tree and fish production, creation of an enabling policy environment and institutional support
  • addressing social inequities in distribution of and control over resources, access to information, livelihood opportunities and decision-making
  • developing more resilient agricultural systems to manage risk and production variability, promoting conservation and sustainable use of dryland agrobiodiversity
  • improving the productivity and profitability of agricultural systems through sustainable intensification, diversification, value-added products and market linkages
  • strengthening institutional and individuals’ capacity to prepare next generation of change agents for sustainable development in drylands

Research projects 

  • Knowledge Management in CACILM II, February 2013 - July 2016.
  • Assessment of the Economics of Land Degradation for Improved Land Management in Central Asia, November 2014 - October 2015.
  • Improved potato varieties and water management technologies to enhance water-use efficiency, resilience, cost effectiveness and productivity of smallholder farms in stress-prone Central Asian environments, March 2012 - February 2015.

Bilateral Projects funded by the Government of Russia, December 2012 - December 2016:

  • Identify and introduce stress-tolerant, high-yielding and improved quality varieties of cereals, legumes, potato, vegetable, horticultural and fodder crops through on-farm adaptive trials.
  • Improve the productivity of marginal lands in irrigated farming and pastoral systems.
  • Evaluate the effect of conjunctive use of canal and drainage waters.
  • Improve water use efficiency through innovative technologies in irrigation and farming in cereals, potato, vegetable, horticultural and fodder crops.
  • Increase livestock productivity to improve availability of animal proteins to the households and increased revenues and wellbeing of the pastoralists.
  • Crop modeling to determine sustainable land management options.
  • Identify new improved varieties of cereals, vegetables, legumes, oil-seed and fodder and other non-traditional crops.
  • Strengthen capacity in application of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing on assessment and sustainable management of soil, water, agro-biodiversity resources.
  • Build capacity of men and women farmers and other stakeholders in cultivation and post-harvest practices.
  • Establish a seed systems platform compatible with existing agro-ecological environments to supply farmers with high quality seed and planting materials so as to improve livelihoods, food security and incomes of smallholders.
  • Establishing Strategic Innovation Platform for multi-stakeholder process.

For more information please contact the Central Asia Flagship Coordinator Bogachan Benli b.benli@cgiar.org