A village in Uzbekistan adapts to climate change, and raises incomes
KYZYL RAVAT, Uzbekistan – 5 December 2011 – Climate change has taken its toll on rural Uzbekistan, degrading pastureland and depleting livestock. However, one remote village has demonstrated that it can adapt to the effects of climate change – and even increase people’s income at the same time.
The inhabitants of Kyzyl Ravat, a remote village in the Kyzylkum desert of Uzbekistan, have employed a range of techniques to improve herding and breeding practices for their sheep and cattle. In the process, they raised the productivity of their cattle by 36 percent and increased their income by 32 percent.
Farmers in the Kyzylkum desert, Uzbekistan
"Changes in our climate and environment are especially visible in remote parts of the Kyzylkum desert," says Allabergen Alimbaev, a veterinary expert in the village. "Thanks to the project, we understand how we can manage our livestock in a sustainable way, and we are now learning how."
UNDP helped to organize a "pasture users commission" to improve land-use techniques, and established a veterinary service station to better breed and care for the animals. It also advised and trained people on the use of artificial insemination.
"The introduction of artificial insemination of animals in my village has increased the quality of our livestock by two to three times over local animals in terms of productivity," said Kubey Mahambetov, a local resident. "Already at birth, the calves are significantly larger than their peers fathered by the local bulls."
For centuries, the inhabitants of Kyzykl Ravat, who number about 70 families, have depended on breeding and herding livestock for their living. Inefficient livestock grazing techniques and high temperatures have led to degraded lands and poor livestock productivity.
|Artificial insemination already resulting in larger calves|
UNDP’s assistance introducing a pasture-users commission has helped to foster sustainable grazing land by reducing inefficient water-use practices. The pasture-users commission governs the rotation of pasture land. It has helped to implement a new technique using two wells per pastureland to provide water for the animals. Each season the livestock is rotated from one section of pastureland to another, allowing the soil to rejuvenate itself and replenish its vegetation.
UNDP also worked to establish a veterinary service station to provide healthcare for animals, and to educate the population on sustainable pasture use and effective livestock management.
Results have been impressive. The amount of required grazing territory has been reduced by half, and the plant consumption rate has increased by three-fold. Plot rotation has increased pasture productivity by 18 to 21 percent compared with pastures where the rotation system is not employed. In addition, the incidence of animals trampling vegetation has been reduced, allowing for the regeneration of plant cover.
These community-based activities represent the first steps towards a sustainable future for livestock management in the village. The measures are helping to prevent the desertification of land, and the forced migration of people in search of greener pastures.
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