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Tajikistan

Lush Gardens on Steep Slopes

Project Status Ongoing
Main sector
Agriculture & Environment read more
Kerstin Bandsom Team Communications

Lush green vegetable gardens hug the steep slopes surrounding the Zarafshan Valley. Apple, walnut and apricot trees cling to the mountainside. The plants are the pride and joy of the mountain farmers who live in this forbidding terrain. Only a few years ago, things looked quite different here. The dry soil yielded poor harvests, and trees and plants regularly came unrooted, sliding down the cliffs. 

Since Welthungerhilfe began supporting 5,500 vulnerable households with approximately 35,000 people in the districts of Panjakent and Ayni, the situation has undergone a drastic change: Inefficient cultivation methods are a thing of the past.

A view of the Zarafshan Valley: Due to erosion, trees and even entire gardens regularly plunge into the valley.
A view of the Zarafshan Valley: Due to erosion, trees and even entire gardens regularly plunge into the valley. © Guido Ohlenbostel/Welthungerhilfe

Since Welthungerhilfe began supporting 5,500 vulnerable households with approximately 35,000 people in the districts of Panjakent and Ayni, the situation has undergone a drastic change: Inefficient cultivation methods are a thing of the past.

How do I Prevent my Garden from Falling?

The problem of the collapsing mountainsides is partially of their own making: Throughout the past years, residents of the Zarafshan Valley cut down their forests for firewood.  As a result, soil erosion decreased and avalanche risks rose. Now, however, efforts to reforest the land and stabilise the slopes are underway.

Including the People

“The agricultural sector has enormous potential,” says Romy Lehns, Welthungerhilfe Country Director in Tajikistan. “However, the farmers did not have the resources and knowledge to take advantage of it.” Now, they have an opportunity to acquire the necessary knowledge: Whether crop rotation, fruit tree cultivation, composting and organic fertilisation or integrated pest control – training sessions allow them to learn about innovative and environmentally-friendly agricultural methods. For example, they learn how to prevent the disastrous landslides that can cost them entire gardens: By installing lynchets and contoured gardens.

The participants of these sessions are also familiarised with location-appropriate seeds and a larger selection of fruit and vegetable varieties. These seeds, trees and plants grow significantly better in this region than much of what has been traditionally planted here. The families are happy with their higher harvest yields and now enjoy a fresher, more balanced and vitamin-rich diet.

How Welthungerhilfe supports people in Tajikistan

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Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V., Sparkasse KölnBonn IBAN DE15 3705 0198 0000 0011 15, BIC COLSDE33