Kyrgyzstan : UN agencies join hands in the fight against food insecurity
A press tour was organized between 18 and 20 September 2013 in the Osh province of Kyrgyzstan as part of the UN Delivery as One framework.
UNFAO/UN Women and WFP have jointly indicated that the objectives of the press tour looked: to demonstrate the influence of the programme in changing the lives of the most vulnerable social groups in rural areas – women from low-income families, and; to provide beneficiaries with the possibility to recount the lessons learnt throughout the project.
The press-tour played an important role in strengthening partnerships not only among the UN agencies and the media, but also among beneficiaries of the program and local authorities.
Women are amounted to 40% of the population employed in the agricultural sector in the Kyrgyz Republic where agricultural production prevails. Their rights to land and access to economic resources are restricted. The lack of land and migration of their husbands and sons very often mean these women cannot hold jobs, a steady income and opportunities for their families. That is why rural women represent the largest part of rural households with permanently low levels of food security and restricted opportunities to improve their social and economic status.
The project implemented by the three UN agencies in four oblasts of Kyrgyzstan, comprises of a total of 2620 households. Participants in the project receive technical assistance including fertilizers, sprayers, small greenhouses and constant support from consultants and agronomists. Moreover, using new methods of cultivation, women increase the volume of ecologically clean vegetable production at markets of the country – without pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
Part of their earnings go into Rural Funds, which are unique credit unions free of interest. New participants can receive interest-free loans to purchase good seeds or money. Having harvested their crop, they would return seeds or money into the rural fund – renewable and permanent source of funds for rural dwellers. To date, there are 51 rural funds established in the four oblasts of Kyrgyzstan.
During the press tour, farmers, especially women, spoke about the knowledge they acquired during the project and their plans for the future. This was proof of the sustainability of the project which is seen to continue, even after donor funds will be stopped, through independent ways of development.