Back to the hometown in Kazakhstan with 'New World'
“There was a time when our region was green, crop production and pastures were well supplied by sufficient amount of water. The river Syrdarya was full of water and more than 2500 communities were settled in this area. However, in the last 25 years, the water in the delta region of Syrdaya River has completely dried out and majority of people were forced to leave.” says 27 years old Faizolla Smagulov.
“My dad used to use a horse to bring water from 30 km far. We had about 9 ha of productive land which my dad had to reduce to 0,8 ha because of shortage of irrigation water. Ever since I remember I had to support my dad on this tiny land that allowed us to grow only potatoes and some vegetables. Furthermore, I had to work extra hours as a worker to support my family”, continues Faizolla.
Due to drying of Syrdarya River and Aral Sea, the climate in the region became arid and dry, sandy air and salty water made the life of local community even more complicated. As a result, the health conditions of local people also deteriorated gradually.
This was a typical living pattern of most families in the region, until the NGO “Tabiat Alemi” with the support from the New World
Programme improved the water delivery and rehabilitated a water channel which now provides water to the village. The programme also installed water filters so that the local community can access drinking water.
“We have now sufficient irrigation water to revitalize my dad’s farm in its full capacity. We’re now cultivating many types of crops in addition to potatoes, such as tomato, wheat, maize, cucumber and other seasonal crops. We are planning to double our income next year when we will have our own seeds and improve our cropping agro technologies.”, Faizolla summarizes.
A year before the programme has been implemented, there were about 35 households living in the village, now the number increased to around 79.
Due to improved water supply, the regional forestry agency established a well-functioning nursery system and is now employing around 200 people, which equals to almost 90 percent of local working age population.
The improved water delivery system has also positively contributed to the livestock breeding system in the region due to pasture land stock water management system.
The project falls under UNDP Kazakhstan’s Outcome #2: Environmental Sustainability and is envisaged to scale up region-specific best practices.
Strong rural communities/farmers are an important ingredient of sustainable scaling up of agricultural water management principles and are key in promoting exchange of experiences and raising public awareness to ensure additional income generation to eradicate poverty.