FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Pastoralists benefit from the renovated well in Uzbekistan’s arid area

According to experts, overuse of pastures, as well as undergrazing, have a negative impact on the environment. If placed evenly throughout the pasture area, drinking wells for livestock can mitigate these negative consequences.

However, many wells in desert and semi-desert pastures have become unusable over time, and their restoration is a rather difficult and costly process for shepherds.

Recently, the FAO multi-country project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), aided in the renovation of a well located near the village of Takham in southeast Uzbekistan, which in turn provides great support for local livestock breeders.

The population of Takham village is about 1 500 people, who, due to the arid climate, strongly rely on livestock as their source of income.

In total, the local smallholder karakul breeders – a Central Asian sheep breed, raised primarily for its fur – keep more than 3 000 sheep. The newly repaired well is the only source of water used for agricultural purposes in this settlement. Today, after two months of reparation work, the well is fully operational, enabling shepherds to receive up to 40 cubic meters of water every day.

“First of all, it will be possible to use previously unused pastures, therefore, the load on other areas for grazing livestock will be reduced,” national project manager Mukhammadjon Kosimov said. “Effective grazing management on pastures not only ensures sustainability, animal health and productivity, all of which impact cost of production, but it also benefits the pasture ecosystem.”

Local residents were very happy with the launch of the new well. They gained confidence in the future.

“This is a great help for us,” told Otabek Ismatov, director of Guzor Korakulchilik LLC, a larger animal husbandry farm in the Takham village area. “Our farm is engaged in karakul breeding. We supply precious karakul skins, as well as meat and wool. The farm has more than 40 000 head of sheep. From now on, we have big plans. We will increase the number of sheep and develop the economy.”

The overall objective of the project “Integrated Natural Resources Management in Drought-prone and Salt-affected Agricultural Production Landscapes in Central Asia and Turkey” (CACILM2) is to scale up integrated natural resources management in drought-prone and salt-affected agricultural production landscapes in the Central Asian countries and Turkey. In Uzbekistan, this project is being implemented jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture, which also contributes to the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

1 October 2021, Takham, Uzbekistan