A Green Horizon of Opportunity: Farmers in Kazakhstan Embrace Renewable Energy

May 11, 2023
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

This is the story of a small dairy farm in the picturesque landscapes of eastern Kazakhstan, far from civilization, that has become an example of the successful use of advanced green energy. 

Lush meadows rich in medicinal herbs, forests with tall spruces and springs with the purest spring water – this wonderful natural beauty surrounds the Pospelov family farm in eastern Kazakhstan, near the West Altai Nature Reserve. They have 50 cows and enjoy a simple farm life here. They have two workers and their youngest son helps out on the farm. They sell their milk to the nearest large enterprise. 

The Pospelovs wanted their own cheese factory for a long time. 

“Nature gives us every opportunity to produce organic products here. However, we had water and electricity issues and our farm is in a remote hard-to-access area,”
Tatyana Pospelova, the owner of the farm, says.
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

For this reason, the couple decided to participate in the Climate Smart Agro-Technologies Project, which was launched in September 2022. The aim of the initiative was to increase the resilience of agricultural small and medium enterprises to climate change, to promote low-carbon production and to adopt climate smart agro-technologies to increase productivity while reducing the environmental footprint. 

The Pospelov farm, as well as nine other farms in the country, passed the selection process and a solar power plant, a solar system and an energy control system were installed on their premises. Now the farm has a continuous electricity supply and hot and cold water. 

“I couldn’t believe this equipment would be installed here. It’s true that no electricity supply exists around here, so solar panels are a good solution for us: we’ll use less heat on the stove, and we’ll rarely use the generator,”
says Tatyana.

After taking part in the Project, the Pospelov family devised ambitious plans to expand their farm. This was driven in part by Tatyana's visit with other farmers to advanced agricultural farms in Germany, where they have long used alternative energy technologies and practiced resource conservation. 

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan
“Once I saw for myself how they produce biofuel from manure and even leftover food, I realized that we could make additional income on our farm too. Of course, we need appropriate equipment and to be able to market the finished product. Anyway, this trip broadened the scope of my agribusiness goals and vision,”
shared Tatyana Pospelova.

Tour participants visited plants for pellet production (granulated type of solid fuel in a cylindrical shape made from compressed agricultural waste and wood waste), biogas plants, a dairy farm and a village, all already using fully functioning "clean" energy produced by the sun. They also saw first-hand the economic viability and sustainability of farms that use green technologies and bio-raw materials for further processing.

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan
“I realized that everything is possible. Over the years I’ve been selling milk to large companies, but now I want to create a full-cycle production on my farm and to produce dairy products myself. Much work remains, but thanks to the knowledge and perseverance I’ve gained, I’m confident that my family will be able to implement all the plans and share the experience with other farmers in the future,”
Tatyana Pospelova pointed out.
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

UNDP implemented the "Introduction of Climate Smart Agro-Technologies" Project in Kazakhstan with the support of the Government of Japan, which provided US$974,408. The Project was aimed at improving the existing Kazhydromet surveillance system, both in digital formats and through the installation of new modern equipment. Moreover, as part of the project, during the year farmers in regions of Kazakhstan were supported via piloting solutions for the use of renewable energy sources in agricultural production through digital monitoring. Green technology was installed on 10 farms.