In World Water Week 2020, we are pleased to launch our latest Story from the Field which explores how one BCI Farmer’s commitment to trialling water-saving practices led him to install Tajikistan’s first tubular irrigation system, saving almost two million litres of water in just one cotton season.
Tackling Water Shortages in Tajikistan: One BCI Farmer’s Commitment to Trialling Innovative Water-Saving Practices
Surrounded by the dramatic mountains of northern Tajikistan, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) Farmer Sharipov Habibullo is hard at work in his cotton fields, demonstrating the latest water-efficient farming techniques to his neighbouring BCI Farmers.
In Tajikistan, where temperatures commonly exceed 30 degrees celsius in summer, and more than 90 percent of agricultural land is irrigated (rather than rainfed), water scarcity is a major concern for farmers and communities alike.
Farmers typically rely on the country’s old, inefficient water channels, canals and irrigation systems to water their fields and crops. As climate change brings more extreme heat to the region, it places additional pressure on already compromised water systems and supplies.
“Water scarcity prevents our crops from developing healthily, affecting our yields and our ability to provide for our families,” says Sharipov as he addresses a group of neighbouring farmers who have gathered for a BCI training session. “As the climate changes, the seasons are becoming more irregular. We no longer have the stability we need to ensure a good harvest, with just a small window to sow and harvest our crops.”
63-year-old Sharipov is better placed than most to tackle farming challenges, with a degree in agricultural economics, 30 years’ farming experience and his own ten-hectare farm where he has grown primarily cotton (along with onions, wheat and corn) since 2010.
Having witnessed first-hand the farming environment rapidly changing during his life, he knew he needed to take further action to secure the future of not only his cotton farm and his family’s livelihood, but also his neighbouring farms and farmers who share the same limited resources and face the same challenges.
You can find all of BCI’s Stories from the Field here.