The chicken or the egg? Villagers in Kyrgyzstan say both
When Kalys Turganbaev returned to his home village in the Naryn province, to take care of his elderly parents, he had to find work out of his own initiative or face unemployment.
“I was a border guard working in various places in Kyrgyzstan. I’d never had any experience in business, but I always had a sense of making money,” he says.
- A joint UNDP-UNEP initiative supports country-level efforts to integrate poverty-environment strategies into national and local planning processes through financial and technical assistance and capacity development.
- Ten grant proposals implemented in 2 of the poorest provinces of the country demonstrate the benefits of integrating poverty reduction and environment conservation, leading to the initiative’s extension for another 5 years.
- With the initiative’s support, Kyrgyzstan became the first country in Central Asia to pilot the OECD green growth indicators.
- The project also helped develop the National Strategy for Sustainable Development. Together with a new government programme on sustainability, these plans will guide political and economic decisions until 2017.
Kalys had some business ideas, and turned to his local municipality for support. He found out his village was part of the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), a joint programme from UNDP and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) linking poverty-environment issues with priority policy interests such as economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction.
“Upon my arrival in the village, I talked to some unemployed youth and we decided to establish a group to participate in a training course on developing business plans. UNDP funded our participation,” he says.
Kalys’ team developed a detailed business plan for a poultry and egg farm and submitted it to the PEI local grant committee. They received 277,245 soms (around US $5,650) to start the farm. A year later, the young entrepreneurs have doubled their production, employ four people from the village and donate around 600 eggs to the local school and kindergarten every week.
With one-third of the population living below the poverty line and 85 percent of the land exposed to erosion, Kyrgyzstan is a priority country for the Initiative, which has now transitioned to a new 5-year (2013-2017) phase deepening its engagement.
One of the major achievements of the first phase in Kyrgyzstan was the implementation of ten grant proposals in two of the poorest provinces of the country, Naryn and Suusamyr. These clearly demonstrate the connection between poverty and environment. For example, electronic pastureland management was introduced in five pilot rural administrations, improving land usage and tripling the agricultural output.
With the Initiative’s support, Kyrgyzstan became the first country in Central Asia to pilot the OECD green growth indicators. The national statistic committee learned how to deal with complex environmental data and now monitors 65 indicators related to poverty and environment. This enables the government to take action based on evidence.
PEI also provided assistance to develop the National Strategy for Sustainable Development. Together with a new government programme on sustainability, these plans will guide political and economic decisions until 2017.
The new phase will consolidate the poverty-environment gains achieved to date; build on regional strategies that further integrate gender and equity; and help promote greener growth.
Kalys, for his part, says the poultry sector in rural areas of Kyrgyzstan has serious potential for creating jobs and generating income, but needs to unite and organize.
“We realize that our farm is too small for major sales volumes.” Kalys continues, “That is why it’s critical that all egg producers in the region unite. In addition, if we branded our cooperation, we could also export our products to the adjacent districts and even to neighbouring Kazakhstan.”