Rehabilitation of Saline Soils in Tajikistan: The Example of Saline Soils in Vakhsh Valley

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Case Study #8-9 of the Program: ''Food Policy For Developing Countries: The Role Of Government In The Global Food System''


Over the past 25 years, since Tajikistan's independence, economic crisis and various social and natural disasters (the result of failure to carry out the bulk of reclamation activities) have led to secondary soil salinization in some areas. Secondary salinization results from anthropogenic impact on natural factors affecting the development of soils and landscape in general. It is caused by the intake of soluble salts that result from irrigation-related agrogenic contamination or from changes in the direction of natural processes. The immediate causes of salinization are improper irrigation, untimely clean-up of irrigation systems, irrigation erosion, and other factors. As a result, the groundwater level rises; its vaporization increases; and, consequently, an additional amount of salt is released into soil. Furthermore, an increasing land area affected by secondary soil salinization is being observed in the soils of Vakhsh Valley, which have been irrigated for a long time. Currently Tajikistan is an agrarian country with about 60 percent of its population residing in rural areas. Agriculture is an important sector of the economy. As a result of economic reforms, about 20 percent of irrigated land has been transferred to private farmers' ownership (dehkan farms). When saline soils are being developed, two periods are distinguished: the reclamation (transient) period and the operational (constant) period, which lasts as long as an irrigation system exists. This study focuses on the development of recommendations and actions (using the example of the saline soils in the Vakhsh area) aimed at the restoration and the involvement of saline soils in agricultural land use and the dissemination of lessons learned from this experience to other territories. The analysis of the modern condition of irrigated lands and the remediation of salted soils with the aim of increasing their productivity revealed the following issues that require decisions at different administrative levels: the reconstruction of infrastructure and economic and institutional reforms in irrigation; the increase in the operating cost of the cleaning, repair, and rehabilitation of existing irrigation and drainage-collector systems; the further deepening of land reform designed to transfer the selected dehkan land into private property or rent it on a long-term basis; the necessity of adopting measures for the mandatory transfer of responsibility for repair and maintenance of drainage and irrigation channels located on both state and farmers' land; the implementation of advanced agricultural techniques and salt-tolerant varieties of crops on saline lands and the observance of irrigation regimes; the resolution of questions of pricing policy for electricity (including the timing of its supply to consumers) and irrigation water, and so on. To resolve these issues, the Government of Tajikistan and Parliament (Majlisi Namoyandagon) are expected to adopt legislative acts mandating state and local (hukumats) authorities to carry out reclamation works on both state and farmers' irrigated lands. Funding of soil desalinization reclamation is possible with the financial support of the National Bank of Tajikistan, nongovernmental organizations, local hukumats, dehkan farms, and private investors. Your task is to present policy options that address the problem of the salinization of irrigated soils in the environment of changing market relations and to focus the solution to this problem on poverty reduction and the increased food security of the country.

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14 pp.

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Cornell University Division of Nutritional Sciences

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Valery Demidov, Hukmatullo Akhmadov (2016). Case Study #8-9, ''Rehabilitation of Saline Soils in Tajikistan: The Example of Saline Soils in Vakhsh Valley''. In: Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Fuzhi Cheng (editors), ''Food Policy for Developing Countries: Case Studies.''14 pp.

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