Image: UNDP Uzbekistan

As recently as yesterday we complained about the fact that mudslides and landslides have become more frequent, while today we complain about heat and dust storms. It seems that only recently we first heard from scientists about climate change and its impacts, and thought these would be far away and not affect us, but today we feel their influence in all aspects of our lives.

A workshop was held for farmers around the Fergana Valley’s cities on 27-29 June, dedicated to climate change and its impacts on agricultural development. This event was held within the ‘Enhancing the adaptation and strengthening the resilience of farming to Climate Change Risks in Fergana Valley’ joint project of UNDP and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan, implemented with financial support from the Russian Federation. 

Agricultural products are the main income source for the Fergana Valley’s citizenry, who mostly live in rural areas. Farmers and rural households have for several years faced problems related to climate change’s impacts on produce quantity and quality. 

Issues considered during the regional workshop included climate change’s main factors and consequences, their impacts on agricultural development, possible adaptation measures, and issues related to food security.

Adaptation measures to address climate change’s risks have attracted particular interest and created engaged discussions among the workshop participants. Such measures have included crop planting schemes which consider the sun’s movement, irrigation methods using hydrogel, obtaining air condensates with nets, applying different types of mulch for different crops, and utilizing drip irrigation and sprinkling systems.

When discussing methods of combating and adapting to climate change’s impacts, participants emphasized the need to continuously improve agricultural practices, given that today it is no longer possible to farm in a traditional way. As such, it is now necessary to find new ways to solve problems, learn from experience, involve young people in agriculture, and share knowledge.

Video materials presented during the workshop showed agricultural practices used in leading exporting countries. These in particular included approaches to greenhouse farming and seed industry used in the Netherlands, different water saving measures, and drip irrigation methods applied in Israel.

"I think that every farmer should be able to anticipate the risks of climate phenomena, and take measures to prepare for nature's whims. With regard to what these measures are, it is necessary to use seedlings and seeds of drought-and-heat-resistant varieties which are least susceptible to diseases and pests, use nets to protect against possible sunscorch and hail, and apply means to delay or accelerate crop awakening in the early spring,” said workshop participant Mamurbek Islomov, head of the Bogbon TRAM Agro cooperative.

“A good farmer will not give up even if a harvest is lost due to natural factors, because they will have created a well-developed plan for growing another crop that will save them from losses, and it is possible they will even come out with a profit.”

Today, when assessing the situation related to climate change’s consequences, it can be concluded that our farmers facing extreme weather phenomena have begun to prioritize obtaining and strengthening their knowledge in this area. They are interested in applying measures which not only enable adaptation to climate change’s consequences, but also greatly reduce their impact. 

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