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Tajikistan: Agriculture in the high mountains

Harvesting more in Tajikistan

Thanks to better irrigation, farmers achieve higher earnings

The village of Veshab is situated in a remote location in the high mountains of northern Tajikistan. Arable land is at a premium here; the yields from domestic gardens and small fields are the sole means of existence for the people. The collapse of the community of states, together with the civil war, has further worsened living conditions for the 1,900 inhabitants.

This led to Welthungerhilfe selecting Veshab as one of its Millennium Villages. Just as in 12 other villages in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the inhabitants of Veshab are making their own contribution to the Millennium Goals. They decide themselves what problems to tackle first.

The villagers have repaired and extended a poor irrigation system. Thanks to an economical drip irrigation system, farmers can now cultivate their fields year round; they also generate greater yields thanks to adapted seeds. Cereal, vegetables and potatoes are now harvested on the mountain plateau.

Potatoes are also being grown on the mountain plateau.
Potatoes are also being grown on the mountain plateau. © Ohlenbostel
Fruit and vegetable surpluses are sold at the market at good prices. @ Koop
Fruit and vegetable surpluses are sold at the market at good prices. @ Koop

Regular training sessions for farmers

Regular training sessions and demonstration fields help farmers learn methods suitable for their location: Terraces and other hillside fortifications help prevent soil erosion. New fruit trees are planted and cultivated. Since the farmers started processing fruit with solar dryers, boiling it down or turning it into juice to make it last longer, families have had more food that lasts until the next harvest. In addition, they can sell their surplus at good prices throughout the year.

The progress in Veshab is also visible when it comes to health: A new pipeline has provided all villagers with access to clean drinking water. The number of acute cases of diarrhoea has markedly dropped as a result.

Progress in health sector

A new health station has also helped improve the situation. The villagers are now saving towards the purchase of an ambulance.

In the Millenium Declartion of 2000 189 countries committed themselves to eight targets intended to ensure more global justice by 2015. Welthungerhilfe has also taken up this challenge, starting the Millenium Villages initiative in 2006. This gives the local population a voice and makes progress measurable. The focus is on the principle, "helping to help themselves". Village communities specify their problems, prepare solution pathways and implement these.

Assessment of our work in the district of Baljuvon, Tajikistan: Find the final evaluation report here!

Further reading
Video: Ecotourism in Tajikistan

The 7 Lakes in Tajikistan - an insider tip for backpackers!

Video: Beekeeping

 Locally produced honey in Tajikistan

Video: Disaster resilience

The inhabitants of Rasht Valley in Tajikistan learn to cope better with natural disasters.