USAID’s training in vineyard management techniques enabled a young Uzbek farmer to double his harvest and triple his revenues.
Tursunali Jorayev farms a three-hectare vineyard in Pop District, Namangan Province within the Ferghana Valley. Grapes are the main source of income for this 27-year old man, his wife, and their three daughters.
When in 2008 USAID’s AgLinks project offered farmers to host demonstration plots and trainings on vineyard management, Joraev was quick to take the offer. This was the first time Jorayev heard about any training on grape production in many years and was eager to use the opportunity. “It is important to have training on the best practices,” Jorayev said.
The USAID project offered a 25-percent cost-share arrangement to farmers who established trellises on one hectare of their land to replace the traditional “bush” approach where grapes are grown on the ground. AgLinks funded the cement, wire, and transport for installation of the trellises, while Joraev provided labor and food. Once the trellises were installed, the USAID project trained local farmers in vineyard management techniques. “We learned a lot of useful things about watering, fertilizers, pruning techniques, and canopy management,” Jorayev said.
Farmers also learned that trellises allow grapes to receive more sunlight and air, which encourages clustering as well as fights diseases and grape rot, all of which lead to larger yields.
By the harvest time, Jorayev was reaping the benefits of these new techniques: instead of 3.5 tons of grapes his vineyard produced last year, Jorayev harvested 8 tons. Additionally, for the first time, he was able to export 350 kilograms of the “Toyfi” grapes to Russia, where fruits garner much higher prices. Once the entire harvest was sold, Jorayev was enjoying 2.1 million Uzbek soum of revenues instead of the last year’s 600,000 (an increase of about $1,382).
Part of this money went towards improving family’s living comforts. The rest will be reinvested in the vineyard upgrades: Jorayev plans to install trellises on his remaining two hectares and switch to new grape varieties. “AgLinks helped me understand that I can increase my income by planting more table grape varieties to meet local demand,” Jorayev said.