Farmer Field Schools for improved agricultural practices in the irrigation zones of Uzbekistan [Uzbekistan]

Central Asian Countries’ Initiative for Land Management (CACILM)

approaches_2581 - Uzbekistan

Completeness: 89%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Khamzina Tatyana



100011, 44, Navoi str, Tashkent


Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO Food and Agriculture Organization) - Italy
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
CACILM Multicountry Capacity Building Project (CACILM Multicountry Capacity Building Project) - Kyrgyzstan

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

The training of farmers in sustainable agronomic and irrigation practices aimed at improving and increasing the productivity of soil (in the frame of CACILM).

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: Most of Uzbekistan’s irrigated lands are affected by degradation processes, the most widespread of which include: (i) resalinization, (ii) water logging and raising water tables, (iii) loss of organic matter and reduction in soil fertility. The main goal of the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) is to train farmers in the best practices of cultivating crops on salinity and water logging affected gypsum-bearing soils and the , effecient use of irrigation water to increase land productivity and crop yield. FFS in the irrigated zone of Uzbekistan were established under the framework of the FAO project “Integrated management for sustainable use of salt affected and gypsiferous soils” (2002-2004).

Methods: The project’s FFS component was implemented by the Uzgipromeliovodhoz Institute under Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources. The national consultants’ workgroup from Uzgipromeliovodhoz Institute, led by the national Project Director, organized and managed training in the FFS. FFS trainee groups comprised of farmers from the project areas who volunteered to participate. Training was conducted by the trainers using jontly elaborated training confirmed modules. The training, which was performed in the field where the farmers were introduced to sustainable agronomic practices, proved to be effective. Theoretical knowledge was taught in the machinery and tractor depots, and in rural school classrooms.
FFS also used the method of mass information transfer in order to facilitate adoptation of improved irrigation practices by a large number of farmers. This included the distribution of printed materials, highlighting the issues of rehabilitating degraded land, the preservation and increase of soil fertility, crop cultivation practices.

Stages of implementation:
I. Development of curriculum. Three-day workshop, headed by a FAO international consultant. This consultant, jointly with scientists and experts in agriculture and water resources and the leading farmers, developed the curriculum as well as approved the subject and content of the training modules.
II. Training of trainers (tutors). For three weeks, trainers underwent a Training of Trainers workshop. Candidate trainers were selected from among the project experts, local scientists, qualified farmers with higher education degrees in agriculture and working experience in this field.
III. Training of farmers. The organization of the FFS in the project areas was headed by national consultants and supported by local project experts. The farmers from the project areas were assembled into groups of 20-25 people each. Training was conducted by the FFS trainers.

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:

Uzbekistan/Syrdarya, Kashkadarya oblast

Further specification of location:

Ak-Altyn, Sardoba and Nishan districts

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


Year of termination (if Approach is no longer applied):


2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The Approach focused on SLM only
After Independence, the land tenure system in Uzbekistan changed. As a result of agricultural restructuring, shirkat farms (descendants of kolkhozes and sovkhozes) were disbanded, and the land was provided to farmers under the conditions of long-term leases. Farmers, many of them with no agricultural education or experience in irrigated agriculture, became the land users. Farmers’ Field Schools are aimed at improving the farmers’ capacity and introducing best practices in land and water use in irrigated agriculture

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: There were many reasons why training via FFS became necessary: a drop in the productivity and quality of lands, acute water shortages, ecological problems, a deficit in the capacity of farmers and the absence of extension services

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

institutional setting
  • hindering

Deficit in the capacity of farmers and the absence of extension services

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Creation of informal extension services, farmers’ bureaus and other institutional forms to serve land users

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • enabling

The existing land ownership, land use rights / water rights helped a little the approach implementation

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Mostly men of productive age from among the local population. The foundation is laid by traditional relations: Men are the head of the families. Farms are normally run by men, while women are involved in household activities and the raising of children

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers

Mostly local men involved in agriculture and science

  • national government (planners, decision-makers)

Design and Research UZGIP (Uzgipromeliovodhoz) Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources

  • international organization
If several stakeholders were involved, indicate lead agency:

The experience of Farmer Field Schools applied by FAO in different countries served as the basis for the activity. National experts adapted the FAO approach to local conditions to address the issues of irrigated lands in the Syrdarya and Kashkadarya oblasts of Uzbekistan.

3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation passive During meetings, land users were informed of the best practices for the cultivation of agricultural crops, measures to combat soil salinity and the improvement in the productivity of irrigated lands
planning none
implementation interactive Actively participated in the activities aimed at implementing the Farmers’ Field Schools program , shared their experience
monitoring/ evaluation interactive Identified the leaders among farmers who delivered trainings of certain modules within the groups
Research none

3.3 Flow chart (if available)


Структура формирования Полевых школ


Т.Хамзина (100011, Навои 44, Ташкент, Узбекистан)

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Were decisions on the selection of the Technology(ies) made:
  • by international and national SLM specialists

FAO international experts proposed the FFS approach to increase farmers’ capacity and, in cooperation with the national consultants, local experts and land users, provided separate training modules, which were adapted to local conditions depending on the existing problems.

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by mainly by SLM specialists with consultation of land users. During the Inception Workshop, national scientists, qualified farmers and agricultural experts led by FAO international consultants formulated the areas of activity and developed the curriculum, as well as the training modules topics.

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Specify who was trained:
  • land users
If relevant, specify gender, age, status, ethnicity, etc.

The entire population, regardless of nationality, age or social status, may receive FFS training

Form of training:
  • on-the-job
  • farmer-to-farmer
  • demonstration areas
  • public meetings
Subjects covered:

1.Social aspects: general evaluation of the environmental conditions & living standards of farmers.
2.Soil functions & properties. Monitoring and impact. Land legislation
3.Soil rehabilitation
4.Water management
5.Soil fertility, health & soil biological management
6.Crop management. Fundamentals of Farmer and Water Users’ Associations
7.Agricultural machinery, protection/preservation of soil

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields
  • at permanent centres
Describe/ comments:

Farmer Field School; Key elements: Extension services, Practical lessons;
1. The provision of extension services to farmers through the dissemination of printed publications in the form of printed media, including brochures, leaflets, newsletters and flyers on integrated management of salinity and water logging – affected soils
2. Practical lessons in the field, participation in presenting crop productivity at the demonstration sites, group exercises on the practical application of knowledge obtained («field days»)

Advisory service is inadequate to ensure the continuation of land conservation activities; Presently, the country lacks permanent public institutions dealing with extension in the area of soil and water conservation

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • no

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



economic / production aspects were regular monitored by project staff through measurements; indicators: Project experts calculated crop budget atnd marginal income
Monitoring of changes in the soil properties aspects were regular monitored by project staff through measurements; indicators: as well as the soil’s humus and nutrient content

There were no changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


Specify topics:
  • sociology
Give further details and indicate who did the research:

Sociological surveys were performed to evaluate the effectiveness of the training, demand for training, interest in learning, identification of priority rural problems, causes of limited production and living standards, as well as to develop proposals for improving the situation in the rural areas through the efforts of rural communities and farmers’ associations.

Research was carried out on-farm

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
  • 2,000-10,000
Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: international: 100.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


5.5 Other incentives or instruments

Were other incentives or instruments used to promote implementation of SLM Technologies?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Improved productivity of agricultural crops, improved soil properties and soil/reclamation conditions

Did the Approach empower socially and economically disadvantaged groups?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Renting the land increases population’s employment opportunity for working age farmers of any nationality.

Did the Approach improve issues of land tenure/ user rights that hindered implementation of SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Government resolutions to introduce change into the land and land use legislation are required The problem is unlikely to be overcome in the near future.

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Under the framework of the World Bank project, “Reconstruction of irrigation & drainage infrastructure & rehabilitation of wetlands” (2005-2009), FFS in Southern Karakalpakstan trained some 690 farmers;152 land users obtained experience in the implementation of best cropping practices through participation in field days, presentation of crop productivity, and other activities that FFS performed in its sites for the neighbor farmers who were not trained under the FFS.

Did the Approach lead to improved livelihoods / human well-being?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Crop productivity increased, therefore, income from farming also increased

Did the Approach help to alleviate poverty?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Farmers who did not have a farm applied the knowledge gained in their small dekhkan households

6.2 Main motivation of land users to implement SLM

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • uncertain
If no or uncertain, specify and comment:

There is an option for disseminating FFS subjects (applicable training modules and materials were created, trainers remain on the sites) with little to no significant financial assistance or support from the local administration for the organization of Farmers’ Field Schools.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Regular meetings of trainee groups and training during the entire vegetation season
FFS is a farmer training form that does not require significant financial investment
FFS provides for the mass training of farmers.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
No specialized training facilities required
FFS provides an opportunity for the training of farmers at the production site, within a suitable timeframe
It is suitable, as there’s no need to leave home in order to participate in trainings; training content is delivered in a user-friendly and graphical manner
During the training in FFS, there is an opportunity to exchange experience and discuss peer-to-peer the issues and how to address them
Регулярные встречи обучающихся групп и обучение на протяжении всего сезона выращивания культур (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Распространение знаний от фермера к фермеру, чтобы обеспечить массовость и результативность)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Although FFS is an informal organization, it requires the support of local authorities in terms of organization Include organizing activities to train land users and raise awareness. Local authorities’ support is required to prepare FFS trainers Ecological NGOs should be involved; farmer-driven initiatives at the level of self-government level should be increased
At first, governmental financial support will be required
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
No discernable weaknesses Создать службу по повышению потенциала землепользователей, в задачи которой входила бы организация мероприятий по обучению землепользователей и информированности. Нужна поддержка местных властей в подготовке инструкторов для ПФШ Привлекать к участию НПО по экологии и повышать уровень самоорганизации и фермерских инициатив
На первом этапе требуется финансовая поддержка государственных структур

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Final report of FAO/TCP/UZB/2901 project entitled “Integrated management for sustainable use of salt affected and gypsiferous soils”, 2005Final report of the World Bank project “Reconstruction of irrigation and drainage infrastructure and rehabilitation of wetlands”. Subcomponents AS-4.3 and AS-4.4 “Farmer Field Schools” and “Farmers Information Bureau and Farmers Extension Service”

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Final report of the World Bank project “Reconstruction of irrigation and drainage infrastructure and rehabilitation of wetlands”. Subcomponents AS-4.3 and AS-4.4 “Farmer Field Schools” and “Farmers Information Bureau and Farmers Extension Service”

Links and modules

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