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Central Asia and the Caucasus

Central Asia and the Caucasus

 

ICARDA Central Asia Country Office established in 1998 in Uzbekistan 

Regional manager: Akmal Akramkhanov  

 

Overview 

ICARDA’s work in Central Asia and the Caucasus is made possible through the support of national partners and the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),Russian Federation, GIZ, Caritas Switzerland, German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), CGIAR’s Research Program on Wheat, and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC).

 For over two decades, ICARDA has worked alongside scientists, farmers, and regional institutions, and with international donors in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia, and Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in the Caucasus, through its country office in Uzbekistan.  

Central Asia and the Caucasus (CAC) is a vast area of desert, steppe and mountain, with a harsh climate characterized by low and unpredictable rainfall and extremes of temperature. And yet, CAC is rich in plant genetic resources and encompasses center-of-origin crops of global significance, including cereals, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. As one of the region's key suppliers of agricultural products such as wheat, cotton, fruits, and vegetables, and with its high bio-physical potential for agricultural development, there is an immense opportunity to sustainably increase CAC's agro-pastoral productivity.  

ICARDA’s main collaborative research priorities in CAC are the development of better agricultural systems and climate-smart, disease/pest-resistant crops, the conservation and management of genetic resources (crops, wild relatives, and livestock), socioeconomic and public policy research, better soil and water approaches for sustainable land management and agriculture, livestock improvement, and crop diversification.  

Across the region, ICARDA also provides science-based solutions for livestock improvement and management for breed and health improvement, feed management and range rehabilitation, crop diversification for long-term sustainability, and household nutrition and income security, while strengthening National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) and human resource development, with an emphasis on training. 

 
Activities 

  • Capacity development of local scientists and farmers, and knowledge sharing through targeted workshops, field days, and training for sustainable land management practices, improved policies, and support in implementing the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.  

  • Livestock projects combining value chain analysis and genetics with rangeland, forage and livestock research. 

  • Training, capacity building and data collection for improved incomes, quality, and animal productivity.  

  • Digital research activities such as quantifying land degradation and desertification and assessing the yield and water productivity gaps for accelerated development of sustainable agroecosystem solutions. 

  • Conservation agriculture approaches such as the introduction of climate-smart crops, crop diversification, crop rotation, better soil management techniques, and water-saving irrigation techniques to increase yields, lower production costs, reduction of salinity, and improvement of soil health.  

  • Introducing Farming with Alternative Pollinators (FAP), a self-sustaining and climate-smart approach to protect pollinators and raise farmers' incomes.  

  • Implementation of the Central Asia Integrated Pest Management (IPM) project (funded and led by the United States Agency for International Development’s Cooperative Research Support Program and guided by Michigan State University and the University of California-Davis). The project includes a collaborative research program to enhance the efficiency and product lines of bio-laboratories, improve the biological control of pests through landscape ecology/habitat management, and focuses on the strengthening of outreach and educational programs in ecologically based IPM.  

  • In collaboration with HiveTracks Inc, the introduction of AI-driven solutions, such as cellphone applications, are enabling micro-entrepreneurship and improved livelihoods of resource-constrained women. For instance, the solutions are enhancing digital literacy, beekeeping and the performance of hive inspections which, in turn, is increasing honey production and encouraging the involvement of, and leadership of women.  

 

Impact

  • Over 12,000 scientists and farmers have benefited from ICARDA’s workshops, field days and training.  

  • ICARDA's introduction of more than 60,000 improved germplasm of wheat, barley, chickpea, lentil, faba bean and grass pea has resulted in 68 improved crop varieties in the region, which now occupy more than 1.2 million ha croplands annually. 

  • Cultivation of more than 15 yellow rust resistant ICARDA wheat varieties has saved millions of dollars in controlling the disease. 

  • The community-based breeding project increased the annual income of the Kyrgyz women by 2.3 times, and that of Tajik women by 1.3 times.  

  • Felt products, half of which were newly introduced, earned close to US$50,000 (equiv.) for Kyrgyz women groups in 2013.  

Innovations in Central Asia and the Caucasus

Latest News

UNFSS Dialogue
News
ICARDA scientists alongside IWMI and IFPRI and 70 other stakeholders and organisations, participated at the UNFSS Independent Dialogue on Central Asia dialogue framed around the theme “Advancing Water-Energy-Food (WEF) approaches to achieve food systems transformation in Central Asia.”
Farmers in Central Asia are already suffering the effects of climate change.
News
An ICARDA assessment in Central Asia provides the information that policy makers need to strengthen the resilience of the region’s agricultural sector.
The 17th Meeting of the Steering Committee of the CGIAR Regional Program for Sustainable Agricultural development in Central Asia and the Caucasus
News
Experts discuss collaboration opportunities to boost food security & sustainable agricultural development in Central Asia.