Fayzabad is a medium-sized town in Tajikistan which lies about an hour’s drive from the capital, Dushanbe.
Like all towns in Tajikistan, many people in Fayzabad are reliant on remittances that their families send back to the town. Depending on the study, Tajikistan has been ranked as the most remittance-dependent country in the world in recent years, with around 40% of GDP being obtained from migrant workers. Most migrants work in Russia, and many social issues are attendant to the enormous level of migration. Therefore a more economically productive agricultural sector could have significant positive social effects on communities across the country.
The results of the baseline survey showed that the population of Fayzabad had limited knowledge of irrigation and fertilization techniques. Most people were unaware about the toxic effects of fertilisers, very few used compost as fertiliser with almost half not knowing how to, and two of the eight irrigation methods surveyed were used by no-one in the study. On top of this, there was widespread ignorance about the causes of soil degradation and erosion. The majority surveyed was keen on learning knew farming techniques which indicated high motivation for change in the community.
In a community where potatoes, tomatoes, onions and cereals are the main crops, most farming is clearly for personal consumption rather than for resale. Therefore an increase in agricultural yields and better soil fertility in Fayzabad could have a significant positive impact on the livelihoods of the local population.
The project aimed to reduce soil erosion, combat environmental damage, and reduce rural poverty simultaneously in the Fayzabad district. EFCA worked with consultants specialized in agro-economics and community-mobilizers to increase knowledge of soil and fertilizer use among the population through an advocacy campaign and targeted consultations. EFCA supported twelve “Preventing Soil Losses” initiatives such as covering crops, mulching, contouring or establishment of drainage ditches. These initiatives served both to reduce soil erosion and increase productivity of the land. In addition, EFCA organized the transportation of poultry manure from the neighbouring eggs plant to villages. Local people with the help of community-mobilizers composted the manure, which increased the efficiency of land plots and promoted food security, while it combatted the environmental damage from improper manure management practices that occurred at the eggs plant.
- Constructed greenhouses that acted as demonstration sites to increase knowledge of the soil and organic fertilizer
- Selected and trained Community-Mobilizers who conducted baseline surveys and spread knowledge and awareness of soil characteristics
- Organised an advocacy campaign through informational booklets, banners and preparation for the opening of the demonstration site
- Supported a small grants program called “Preventing Soil Losses” where a number of households were selected and funded in their initiatives to cover crops, mulching, contouring or establishment of drainage ditches. This was aimed to reduce the tremendous erosion that occurred in the area.
- Organised the transportation of poultry manure from the neighbouring eggs plant to villages after which local people, with the help of community mobilisers composted the manure. This increased the efficiency of households’ plots in the Fayzabad district and food security. Additionally it helped combat the environmental damage of improper manure management that occurred at the eggs plant.
- Increased knowledge of soil needs, composting and use of fertiliser of about 1,000 people;
- About 1,000 local people were reached directly by the advocacy campaign;
- Four community-mobilizers are trained in soil composition, soil needs, composting and use of organic fertiliser;
- More than 1,000 households are now using poultry manure as fertiliser;
- The 12 “Preventing Soil Losses” small grants provided water containers that enable 10 households to collect and save water for personal and irrigation purposes, and may thus lead to an additional productivity increase;
- More than 500 people visited the demonstration site;
- 100% increase in land productivity with an average increase being over 30%. Figures are based on questioning of 20 randomly selected households from four communities.