Farmers of Fergana region learn innovative methods of growing water-saving, fast-ripening, and high-yielding varieties of cotton
September 12, 2023
The issue of water scarcity in Central Asia is increasingly severe each year. Agriculture stands out as one of the most water-intensive sectors in Uzbekistan. The region boasts approximately 4.3 million hectares of irrigated arable land, with cotton ranking among the most water-intensive crops, potentially exacerbating future water scarcity challenges in agriculture.
To address this, scientists from the Innovation Group on Cotton Production, established under the auspices of our EU-AGRIN project, funded by the European Union, organized a workshop. This workshop was aimed at introducing fast-ripening, water-efficient, and climate-resilient cotton varieties to farmers and cluster workers specializing in cotton cultivation in the Kuva, Altyarik, and Toshlok districts of the Fergana region.
The seminar featured presentations on the "Description and Advantages of the New Cotton Varieties S-6580 and S-8296," as well as "Innovative Technologies for Drip and Furrow Irrigation of Cotton." Additionally, in response to adverse weather conditions during this year's spring season, including cold air influx and the resulting plant stress, the scientists from the "Cotton" Innovation Group discussed cotton care strategies and presented a new type of plant stimulant and trace elements.
Moreover, the workshop highlighted the distinctions between the two new early cotton varieties, S-6580 and S-8296, and the control variety, Namangan-77, which was planted in the Innovation Group's experimental field. Participants were introduced to innovative cotton productivity technologies. Notably, these new cotton crops mature 10-15 days earlier, labor costs and economic efficiency increase by 20-25% through integrated pest control measures, and there is a remarkable 35-40% reduction in irrigation water usage due to drip irrigation, along with a 25% savings in mineral fertilizer application.
Farmers and agronomists expressed their observations regarding established cotton varieties, which have seen a decline in boll size and cotton weight per boll over the years. This decline, coupled with the shedding of crop elements due to extreme heat and water shortages, was evident. Conversely, the new fast-ripening cotton varieties introduced through the project, along with the use of water-efficient technologies and water-soluble fertilizers, have effectively reduced crop element loss, accelerated crop maturation, and resulted in full cysts at the top of the plant. Notably, the compact growth and non-branching nature of the S-6580 cotton variety make it particularly suitable for mechanical harvesting.
The seminar provided farmers and agronomists with comprehensive responses to their inquiries, signalling a promising shift towards more sustainable and efficient cotton cultivation practices in response to pressing water scarcity challenges in Uzbekistan's agricultural sector.