Cooperative Sarob is BCI’s Implementing Partner in Tajikistan. We caught up with Tahmina Sayfullaeva, Deputy Chairman and BCI coordinator at Cooperative Sarob, to discuss the organisation’s progress to date.
Tell us about your organisation.
Sarob is an organisation of agronomists providing agricultural consultation to cotton farmers in Tajikistan. Our goal is the comprehensive development of agriculture through capacity building, improving access to the market and ensuring cotton farmers have access to the necessary agricultural inputs. As part of our work we provide theoretical and practical training and help farmers to implement new technologies and machinery through demonstrations in the field.
Tell us about Cooperative Sarob’s partnership with the Better Cotton Initiative and the progress made to date.
In 2013, Sarob decided to join BCI in order to create better conditions for cotton production, increase cotton yields and provide cotton farmers with access to a new international market for Better Cotton – cotton produced in line with BCI’s Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. We had the support of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Framework and Finance for Private Sector Development (FFPSD) to implement the BCI programme in Tajikistan. In 2017 we worked with 1,263 licensed BCI Farmers covering an area of 17,552 hectares. BCI Farmers are grouped into four Producers Units in the Khatlon and Sughd regions and smallholder farmers are organised into 103 smaller Learning Groups and trained by 100 Field Facilitators. In the 2016-17 season, BCI Farmers in Tajikistan used on average 3% less water, 63% less pesticides and saw 13% higher yields and a 48% increase in profits compared to comparison farmers.
Do you have a specific sustainability challenge which you are addressing as a priority?
We have a strong focus on water stewardship and efficiency as part of our farm management work in Tajikistan. Our methodology is based on implementing water measurement devices which are easily constructed and are of low cost to farmers. Since 2016 we have worked with The Water Productivity Project (WAPRO), a multi-stakeholder initiative to address water efficiency issues in rice and cotton production in Asia – the initiative is implemented by Helvetas in Tajikistan.