Suggested Actions to Reduce Irrigation Erosion in the Kyrgyz Republic
Case Study #8-10 of the Program: ''Food Policy For Developing Countries: The Role Of Government In The Global Food System''
Mavlyanova, Nadira; Kulov, Kubanichbek; Jo?shov, Payaziddin
Intensive development of virgin lands in Central Asia in the 20th century was driven by the continuous growth of the population, a demand for higher agricultural output, and a need to develop amelioration technologies. In the Kyrgyz Republic, where mountain systems occupy more than 90 percent of the area, most agricultural lands are located in piedmont and mountainous areas with rugged terrain. That is why the most dangerous types of degradation, from the environmental and economic point of view, are water erosion and irrigation-induced erosion on irrigated lands. In the Kyrgyz Republic 700,000 out of 1 million hectares are affected by irrigation-induced erosion, which leads to a reduction in crop yields on eroded soils by 20 to 60 percent and, as a consequence, an increase in the poverty rate to 70 percent of the rural population. Fertile land is a national asset of the country that is a prerequisite for its food security. The aim of this case study is to define key causes of irrigation-induced erosion in the Kyrgyz Republic and offer various approaches and technologies for the sensible use of irrigated lands to decision makers. To this end, the case study: reviews causes for irrigation-induced erosion in the Kyrgyz Republic and identifies key factors contributing to this process; analyzes laws and resolutions adopted by the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic from 1991 to 2016 to reduce land degradation; identifies stakeholder groups such as government authorities, research and education institutes, local authorities, and farms; and proposes specific recommendations for each stakeholder group so that decisions are made at their own level to preserve soil fertility and increase their crop yield. For the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, conservation of soil fertility is a key policy target, which is confirmed by the adoption of numerous laws and national programs on food security of the country since 1991. However, detailed analysis of the current situation in the Republic, which shows how issues of irrigation-induced erosion are addressed today, demonstrates that these laws and programs do not work. This is mainly because of the lack of an integrated approach to resolving this issue–which is why small financial funds allocated for this purpose do not result in major achievements. Responsibility for the enforcement of the government's adopted laws and resolutions and its finances is allocated among several ministries and agencies. There is no link between programs and action plans implemented by different ministries and agencies in terms of substance and implementation timelines. In the Soviet Union (until 1991) this was the responsibility of the State Planning Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic, which relied on thorough research of specific issues. Today programs are prepared using a silo approach: scientific validity and the environmental security of programs implemented in parallel in one region or area are not analyzed, which is why the effect expected by decision makers is not achieved. Executive agencies responsible for environmental protection do not have sufficient human resources that would have good knowledge of existing issues related to land degradation, its causes, and modern technologies for land improvement. They only acknowledge that the quality of environment has been deteriorating. It is proposed that a single coordinator–that is, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development–be set up on the basis of the existing State Agency of Environmental Protection of the Kyrgyz Republic that, in close cooperation with research institutions and local authorities, will study ongoing natural processes, conduct monitoring, offer recommendations, supervise their implementation and provide funding at the local level. Decisions made by this ministry must be based on research conducted by research and educational institutes, because such institutes: have multi-year databases and relevant methodologies, and are able to evaluate ongoing processes of land degradation and propose rational technologies for land irrigation and cultivation; and have the capacity to define land and water management policy, including integrated policy, in contrast to public officials and parliamentarians who work in their offices and who are often replaced, and when they are removed from their positions, persons responsible for authoritative disastrous decisions cannot be found. Farmers have to improve their agrarian education and apply recommended land irrigation and cultivation technologies to preserve land fertility. Numerous reports of international programs, concepts, and laws adopted by the government are based on research conducted 30 to 40 years ago or have been borrowed from other countries where natural and climatic, geological and geographical, and social and economic conditions are absolutely different. For example, the last quantitative evaluation of the land erosion rate in the Kyrgyz Republic was conducted in the 1980s. Today, without having scientifically validated information about the conditions of irrigated lands, it is not possible to develop activities aimed at preserving land fertility. A principally new unified system of agricultural land monitoring needs to be put in place with the use of geographic information system (GIS) technologies, which can provide reliable information on land conditions in real time and can help conduct studies on quantitative evaluation of erosion hazards.
18 pp.©Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. All rights reserved. This case study may be reproduced for educational purposes without express permission but must include acknowledgment to Cornell University. No commercial use is permitted without permission.
Cornell University Division of Nutritional Sciences
CUL Initiatives in Publishing (CIP)
Previously Published As
Nadira Mavlyanova, Kubanichbek Kulov, Payaziddin Jo?shov, (2016). Case Study #8-10, ''Suggested Actions to Reduce Irrigation Erosion in the Kyrgyz Republic''. In: Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Fuzhi Cheng (editors), ''Food Policy for Developing Countries: Case Studies.''18 pp.