Organic agriculture as a pathway for mountains


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) and Michigan State University (MSU), USA, held an international seminar, called "Organic farming with orientation on biological pesticides and resistant varieties of crops" in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, on 14-16 March 2016. Attended by government representatives, scientists, academics, private sector representatives and farmers, the two-day meeting focused on the current state and future research and education needs of organic agriculture in Central Asia.

Several presenters in plenary and breakout sessions discussed the history of organic farming, international and regional experiences, discussing research results on issues such as soil fertility, crop production, pest control using biological methods, marketing of organic products and certification issues. Government representatives and academics from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Turkey, Tajikistan and United States discussed the status of organic agriculture in their respective countries.

Sara Manuelli of the Mountain Partnership (MP) Secretariat, based in Rome, Italy, shared with event participants information about the Mountain Products Initiative, which is geared toward developing a voluntary "mountain products” certification. The initiative aims to support small and medium producers of mountain products by providing them with further access to markets and opportunities for marketing. Many MP members from Central Asia are collaborating with the Secretariat on this initiative.

Other Central Asia Mountain Partnership members also shared their experiences. Iskenderbek Aidaraliev, Head of the Federation of Organic Movement "BIO-Kg, shared the results of the activities of a network of organic aimags (districts) in the country and spoke about the prospects and challenges of the development of organic agriculture in Kyrgyzstan. To date, these aimags account for a total of 22 villages and around 400 farmers.

According to the results of the workshop and the contributions of its participants, recommendations will be published concerning the development of organic agriculture in Central Asia. The Conference Proceedings and Recommendations on Organic Agriculture Research and Education Priorities will be distributed to all participants and to the Ministers of Agriculture and Education represented at the workshop.

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Photo: Alma Karsymbek

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