FAO is launching new project, Service-Oriented Management on Irrigation, aimed at increasing productivity and modernizing irrigation system of Tajikistan.

According to FAO Tajikistan, the direct beneficiaries of the 2-year project with a budget of $468 000 will be private (dehqon) farmers, also members of local Water Users Association (WUA) and the Water Users Associations’ Federation in the Govkush canal irrigation system, in the Vahdat district, in the Kofarnihon River basin, and in the Fayzobod district.

“The project will enable water users of pilot regions to enhance knowledge capacity on water management and to adopt best FAO practices in increasing profitability irrigated agriculture,” – said Mr Viorel Gutu, FAO Representative in Tajikistan.

Under this project, events will be organized for policy development and approaches, measures to adopt FAO innovative technologies on irrigation modernization.

There will be conducted Training for trainers’ workshop on water management issues for farmers, and On-the-job training of hydro-technicians of WUAs and WUA Federation on operation and maintenance of the irrigation and drainage system.

To ensure the success of the project, FAO will purchase techniques and related equipment, including 2 excavators, Handheld GPS Map and GPS application, special agricultural instruments, and computer equipment.

Partnerships will be established with selected NGOs and cooperatives for the provision of advisory services to water users and the private sector for their participation in the development of ‘business plans’. FAO will collaborate with the WUA Federation, National Agrarian University, Extension Services, NGOs working in this area, and involve best national experts.

After Tajikistan achieved its independence most of the irrigation systems were neglected with a resulting loss of their designated capacity. Since then, water delivery services have not been provided satisfactorily to private (dehqon) farmers and about 39 000 hectares of arable land have been taken away from agricultural production.

With about a one-fifth share of GDP and more than 50 percent employment, agriculture remains a key sector for Tajikistan’s economy. Agriculture is highly dependent on irrigation with more than 80 percent of cultivated area under irrigation. However, the current performance of the irrigation and drainage subsector is poor, with an efficiency of national irrigation systems at only 40 50 percent.

In this context, Agency for Land Reclamation and Irrigation requested FAO’s technical assistance to support capacity development in irrigation modernization and on farm water management.