Advanced Technologies Improve Farmers’ Lives
Kanybek Imankulov, a father of four, owns 45 hectares of non-irrigable land in Luxembourg village in northern Kyrgyzstan. A farmer since 1995, Imankulov grows mostly wheat products – alfalfa, cereals and also corn – but has had unimpressive results. His crop yield is between 2 and 2.5 tons per hectare due to difficulties finding proper equipment for tillage and harvesting. Average crop yields per hectare should be around 4.0 metric tons per hectare. “I would spend weeks searching for available equipment and never managed to plant the crops on time,” he said.
In 2009, Imankulov started participating in USAID’s Kyrgyz Agro-Input Enterprise Development Project, jointly implemented by USAID and Eurasia Group KG through a Global Development Alliance partnership. Imankulov was trained how to apply a new no-till technology for land cultivation by using modern agricultural machinery and received improved seeds at a subsidized price. In addition, the project provided him with 100 kilograms of mineral fertilizer free of charge.
The project promotes a no-till technology, which helps preserve land from mechanical erosion and considerably decreases farmers’ expenditures on fuel, planting, and other field operations. This environmentally friendly technology increases crop productivity, enhances soil quality, reduces the use of fertilizers, and increases water infiltration into the soil. The technology ensures rational land use and sustainable agricultural production. Because of the visible benefits, farmers are embracing this technology quickly. In 2009, no-till technology was applied on 20 hectares of farm land. In the 2010 planting season, approximately 4,750 hectares throughout the Kyrgyz Republic were planted using no-till technology. Analysis at the farm level indicates that this technology has proved to be very cost-effective for the farmers and a useful tool for restoring soil fertility.
This year, Imankulov received a yield of 3.5 metric tons of wheat per hectare, significantly higher than his previous yields. “I was impressed with the high quality of the seeds I received. I was surprised that my production costs have reduced this year, and yet I managed to earn more,” he said. “Thanks to this project I am becoming a progressive farmer who uses the best agricultural machinery and learns farm management from the best agronomists in the country. I am motivated to learn and apply new technologies because I see that they make a real difference in my life and the life of my family.”