Gardening is our pride,” says Gulzat Saibiddinova, a mother of three in the small Kyrgyz village of Alga. After her husband Altynbek lost his seasonal job in Moscow—one of the many casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic—their 0.05-hectare plot of land has become the only source of income for the family.
Gulzat is a farmer and one of 9,937 women participating in self-help groups across 60 aiyl aimaks (rural municipalities) who are enjoying higher yields on their crops, a more diverse diet for their families, and some extra income from selling surplus vegetables at the local market—all possible thanks to the Agricultural Productivity and Nutrition Improvement Project.
Financed by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and administered by the World Bank, the $38 million project aims to increase the agricultural productivity and food and nutrition security of rural households in areas around the country that were selected based on the poverty, health, and nutrition status of the people living there. Successful self-help groups in their second year of operation are eligible to receive basic tools and materials to improve household crop production, such as food drying equipment, moto-cultivators, sprayers, and small greenhouses.
In 2019, the project provided a greenhouse to Raya’s self-help group, thus extending the growing season. This enabled Raya and her group to enjoy fresh greens almost year-round and tomatoes and cucumbers until late autumn. They also exchanged the fresh greens for a dehydrator owned by another self-help group to dry fruits and vegetables for the winter.
In the Djalal-Abad region, Rabykan Syunova and her self-help group introduced a new way to water gardens in their mountainous village of Turpak Korgon, where all irrigation used to go to rice crops. After the project training, Rabykan’s group realized that drip irrigation could be a good solution. The project provided a small reservoir and a drip irrigation system. “Water is precious for us and we value every drop. With every drop, the quality of life in our families is improving,” says Rabykan-ezhe.
Read the complete article at www.reliefweb.int.