“Participation in the UNDP’s business-acceleration program helped me to make the most of my business!”
March 28, 2023
Aibek Elchibekov is an entrepreneur from Batken province. For the past two years, he has been providing services for the supply, design and installation of geomembrane reservoirs and drip irrigation systems. During this time, the employees of his small enterprise have implemented more than 15 projects that have already covered more than 140 hectares of land with green irrigation, which saves more than 0.5 million liters of water annually only in this area and also increases the productivity of the land. Most of the population in Batken is engaged in agriculture. Irrigation water is provided by transboundary rivers and groundwater. Recently, due to the development of new areas, increasing losses of irrigation water due to the deterioration of canals, as well as a decrease in the inflow of water in mountain rivers, an increase in the shortage of water resources has been observed from year to year. This creates social tension among the local population, conflicts at various levels, and hinders the development of agriculture in general.
“To mitigate these problems and help farmers and gardeners with efficient and rational irrigation, we are currently designing and installing drip irrigation systems, as well as building geomembrane reservoirs, and installing pumping, filtration, and fertigation units. In general, we are engaged in lean irrigation systems from “A” to “Z”. Our projects are more affordable and many times cheaper compared to the construction of the usual concrete tanks - which is important for local farmers, ”explains Aibek.
Previously, Aibek was also engaged in entrepreneurial activities, but in the field of processing agricultural products and while having direct contact with farmers, he often heard about their difficulties with irrigation. Even then, he became interested in drip irrigation systems, which gave a serious boost to the start of his new business.
“Drip irrigation systems are very relevant for Kyrgyzstan and especially for Batken. I decided that now is the moment when I need to change the field of activity a little, and I was not mistaken!” he says. “The main difficulty was that we are working on the fields and new developed lands. Often, they are very far from settlements, there is no electricity, which is simply necessary when building reservoirs and installing a drip irrigation system. We use various power tools when gluing pipes and a special film - geomembrane. Before we had to rent an electric generator, or we did everything in the workshop and then delivered it to the places, which was so inconvenient, sometimes it was even impossible due to the structure of the irrigation project.
The solution was to purchase a powerful electric generator, but there were no additional funds to purchase the equipment. This did not stop Aibek, and in January 2023 he took part in UNDP’s business acceleration program "Janyration Aimak" and won the initial round of selection receiving a small grant in the amount of 120,000 KGS (about $1.300). This grant allowed him to purchase a 7 kW generator, and a special equipment for welding large diameter polyethylene pipes. Now they can provide services for the construction of reservoirs and laying drip irrigation systems where there is no electricity. This allowed him to reduce the time for the implementation of services and increase orders, which in its turn increased the company’s profit.
“This grant and participation in the UNDP’s business acceleration program gave a powerful impetus to the development of my business, now I plan to take part in the 2nd round of this program and, if I'm lucky, get even more support up to 1 million KGS. This will allow me to get additional equipment and we will be able to assist even more farmers all over the Kyrgyz Republic. For example, we recently took on an order for the construction of a reservoir in Jalalabad province.”
Today, Aibek's company “Euro-service” has its own call center for working with clients, consultations and additional information are provided for interested parties. In addition, they are starting to use IRRICAD hydraulic design software. This software allows you to fully design objects, considering the relief and other features of the client's land. As a result, the design can be carried out online, which will allow them to design proper irrigation systems, regardless of their geographic location and site topography.
In fact, this grant helps not only Aibek but many farmers and the development of agriculture in the country as a whole!
Aibek is one of the participants of the Janyreishn-Aimak business accelerator initiative, which is being held as part of the UNDP project “Socio-economic recovery from the negative consequences of Covid-19 in Osh, Jalal-Abad, Batken provinces of the Kyrgyz Republic”, funded by the Russian Trust Fund for Development. All residents of the pilot regions who have an existing business or a real business idea but lack the knowledge and financial resources for their development could participate in the small grant competition.
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