New technologies stabilize crop production challenged by climate change

15 Aug 2013

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AUGUST 15, ASTANA – The study tour “Field Days” on 5 -9 August in northern Kazakhstan has shown that cost reduction and increased crop capacity of the fields with spring wheat is possible even in a changing climate. The approaches to adapt domestic crop production to climate change were utilized in three pilot sites in the Akmola, Kostanay and North Kazakhstan Provinces. This trial is being carried out within the “Improving the Climate Resiliency of Kazakhstan Wheat and Central Asian Food Security” Joint Project of the KazAgroInnovation JSC, the United Nations Development Programme and the United States Agency for International Development.

Reconsideration of traditional sowing terms - taking into account current draught trends, application of zero and minimum soil treatment and diversification of planting techniques – all this let local farmers economize resources and ensure high productivity of wheat. The project’s domestic and international experts helped farmers master new approaches in experimental fields of around 150 hectares (ha) in changing climate conditions. Adaptive technologies are implemented in combination with high-yield varieties, growth stimulators and nitrogen topdressing. High-yield varieties alone can add 10 centners per ha, and growth stimulators together with nitrogen topdressing increase yields by 5-6 additional centners per each ha.

 Although new for Kazakhstan, these technologies have been proven themselves in international practice. According to Mr Glen Anderson, Project International Consultant, through skillful application of these adaptive approaches in planting, Kazakhstan can become one of very few regions in the world where crop yields, including wheat, will not only be maintained but also increased. The adaptive technologies being promoted by the Project in Kazakhstan meet the principles of the Concept of Transition to Green Economy approved by the Presidential Decree last May.

Mr Yerlan Zhumabayev, National Project Coordinator, explains the practical advantages of the adaptive approaches: “For instance, if the farmers follow optimal – late - sowing terms, they can collect additional 3-4 and more centners from 1 ha. Conversely, early sowings done on the 25th last May have suffered from late-spring droughts and weeds. Villagers involved in the Project diversified their plantings, and thanks to that not only preserved high yields of wheat but also increased production of oil-bearing and feed crops. Zero and minimum soil tillage allowed the farms to reduce cultivation expenses by 30-40%. A pilot field in the North Kazakhstan Province clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of new approaches – while the average wheat productivity here is around 15-16 centners/ha, we expect to yield 34 centners/ha from this project site”.

Around 100 representatives of farming, scientific and research, education, development and other institutions took part in the “Field Days” study tour. During the 5-day tour the participants visited experimental sites in the Kazakh Scientific and Research Institute (SRI) named after Barayev (Shortandy Village, Akmola Province), the Kostanay SRI of Agriculture and the North Kazakhstan SRI of Animal Husbandry and Crop Production (Petropavlovsk City). The Knowledge Extension Centers of the KazaAgroInnovation JSC in Sortandy, Kostanay and Petropavlovsk hosted the tour’s workshops.

The “Improving the Climate Resiliency of Kazakhstan Wheat and Central Asian Food Security” Project is a joint endeavour of the KazAgroInnovation JSC, UNDP and USAID to ensure food security in the Central Asian Region. This initiative is one of many assistance projects supported by the American people through USAID. Since 1992, the American people through USAID have provided more than $550 million in programs that support Kazakhstan’s democratic institutions, social sector, and economic growth.

Contact Information

For further information, please contact National Project Coordinator, Mr Yerlan Zhumabayev at the following numbers: +7 7172 917351 or via email: yerlan.zhumabayev@undp.org