Climate change is widely believed to increase desertification globally.
Efforts to combat land degradation in Central Asia received a new impetus with the three-year project to streamline the use, creation and dissemination of knowledge on sustainable land management (SLM) in the five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), which has been funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) since 2013.
Low soil fertility remains a key problem in parts of Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia. In such areas, lack of soil nutrients and water often results in low crop production. These problems directly affect the livelihoods of many farmers. Burning crop residues and ploughing also contribute to soil degradation as they reduce the organic matter of soil and destroy soil structure.
Farmers in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are making more profits from growing yellow-rust-resistant winter wheat varieties developed through international collaboration and evaluated in farmers' field trials under the CGIAR Research Program 'Dryland Systems' led by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and financially supported by a contribution from the Russian Federation.
Soil salinity, frost and heat remain the main abiotic stresses to winter wheat production in many parts of Central Asia. They affect yields and farmers' incomes.
The Regional Program for Sustainable Agricultural Development in Central Asia and Caucasus was initiated in 1998, and operates as a consortium of eight National Agricultural Research Centers (NARS), eight Centers of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR consortium members) and three additional advanced research institutions (non-CGIAR consortium members).