Uzbek farmers to learn about apple production technologies and practices
In Uzbekistan, there are 120.5 thousand hectares of seed fruit orchards out of totally 261.8 thousand hectares of all orchards, 95% of which are apple orchards. This means that apple trees occupy approximately 44% of all the orchard areas. Apple as a crop is widespread due to its high endurance and adaptability to various soil and climatic conditions and equally high yields as well as its nutrient properties and high commercial and commodity value.
In his speech at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers convened to discuss the 2014-outcomes and the socio-economic development priorities for 2015, President Islam Karimov stated that the most important process to develop the country’s agriculture in a sustainable and efficient way would be the sector’s transition to using modern highly productive and intensive agricultural practices and technologies.
Currently, the country is actively introducing intensive agro-technologies that help double and triple yields. With ordinary fruit trees, for instance, it takes 4 to 5 years from planting the seedlings to seeing the first fruit, while intensive orchards come to fruition already in the second and third years.
However, the Uzbek farmers’ lack of knowledge about the modern apple growing techniques leads to low yields, high production costs and limited export opportunities for the highly competitive product.
To improve the farmers’ knowledge, the project developed a handbook on growing apple trees using intensive farming methods in Uzbekistan.
The handbook provides guidelines on some of the most effective apple cultivating technologies starting with planting the trees and all the way to pruning, applying fertilizers, controlling pests and diseases, harvesting the yields and marketing. The handbook also contains a business plan on how to create an orchard on one hectare land patch.
Additionally, the project has developed “pocket brochures” on key apple varieties, diseases and pests and ways to deal with them. The very handy illustrated pocket-sized cards are a convenient format to present background information.
The handbook will be published with the financial support from ‘Sasol’ representative office in Uzbekistan and the German Cooperation and Development Ministry’s GIZ Programme ‘Sustainable Economic Development in Selected Regions of Uzbekistan’. The published materials will be distributed to the farmers of Uzbekistan free of charge.
Furthermore, a series of trainings on the cultivation of apple orchards will be conducted for farmers. At least 400 farmers, including women, from six regions of Uzbekistan are expected to improve their practical knowledge through the workshops organized by the joint project.
These measures will help raise the farmers’ awareness about cultivation of apple trees, introduction of modern technologies in agriculture and better yields through intensive farming technologies. Such improvements are expected to open up new opportunities in rural areas in terms of employment and income generation and improving living standards, while enhancing the competitiveness of Uzbekistan’s agricultural products international markets.