Approaches

Farmer innovation and self-help group [Tajikistan]

approaches_2661 - Tajikistan

Completeness: 86%

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:
land user:

Sharif Aliev family

Khagatai Village, Rayon of Varzob

Tajikistan

Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Book project: where the land is greener - Case Studies and Analysis of Soil and Water Conservation Initiatives Worldwide (where the land is greener)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
CAMP - Central Asian Mountain Partnership (CAMP - Central Asian Mountain Partnership) - 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:

Yes

1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

An innovative land user, assisted by a self-help group has overcome many administrative and technical problems to establish a fruit garden on previously degraded communal grazing land.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: Although in the 1980s the soviet government supported the establishment of private gardens in specified areas, the lack of irrigation water and suitable land often restricted this process. That was the case for Khagatai village, situated on the narrow valley floor of the Varzob River, below steep loess slopes. This marginal area is used for grazing and shows severe signs of water erosion; the hillsides are considered to be of little agricultural value. In the early 1980s, widespread unemployment evidently had the effect of stimulating people to use their own initiative. In 1982, one innovative farmer started to fence-off an area of half a hectare to establish a private fruit garden on the degraded grazing land. Some say that the fencing of plots for private fruit and hay production is a traditional practice - abandoned after the 1950s - but taken up again recently to re-establish rights to individual plots. The practice is widespread in the higher villages of Varzob, where the farmer noted it and decided to set up his own plot. When it came to practical implementation, despite the land user having five sons, the labour-intensive terracing was only completed thanks to the voluntary assistance of relatives and friends, a tradition locally known as 'hashar'. At first, when his initiative began to take shape on land officially owned by a state farm, no action was taken. However, the change in land management quickly showed positive productive results, and it may have been through jealousy that the people of Khagatai village then reported the case to the authorities. The watering of the garden on the unstable loess slope in the immediate vicinity of the village, and the consequent risk of landslides, was put forward as the reason for the complaint. The authorities opened an investigation and a number of newspaper articles were written about the case.

Methods: Since independent decision making was not common in the soviet states, and rapid degradation of newly irrigated lands on the loess deposits was a big issue, the case of this fruit garden attracted a lot of attention. However, when they observed the improved state of the vegetation on the plot, the authorities finally allowed the farmer to continue. In 1993 the prohibition on private cultivation of land was lifted in order to reduce problems of food shortage caused during the civil war that followed independence. It was during this time that four other land users from Khagatai village spontaneously began to imitate this practice.

2.3 Photos of the Approach

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

Country:

Tajikistan

Region/ State/ Province:

Khagatai

Further specification of location:

Varzob

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:

1982

2.7 Type of Approach

  • traditional/ indigenous

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

To establish an orchard with grape vines, fruit trees and fodder crops for private use.

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: The land in question is part of a communal grazing area and property rights are officially with Khagatai village (in Soviet times with a state farm). Uncontrolled grazing on communal lands has resulted in overgrazing, and thus to progressive water erosion on the steep loess deposits. No attention was paid by the local authorities to soil and water conservation measures in areas considered to be of low agricultural potential.

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

social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
  • hindering

Jealousy of other village members, who didn't like another land user fencing off a plot in communal grazing land.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Others became convinced after the change in land use. Newspaper articles on the case also helped to form public opinion.

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

All inputs had to be provided by the land user himself.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Creative ways were developed to provide material for fencing, for transportation of irrigation water and for access to manure.

institutional setting
  • hindering

Private initiatives on state land were not encouraged under the soviet system.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Activities tended to start on marginal land that was of little agronomic interest to state farms.

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

No individual property rights.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: In soviet times the land belonged to a state farm. Today the land belongs to Khagatai village: efforts to achieve official

knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
  • hindering

For the establishment of the orchard irrigation water was needed. This had to be brought 200 m up a steep slope.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Water in old inner tubes was transported to the orchard by donkey.

other
  • hindering

Availability of labour: Construction of terraces for tree planting is very labour intensive.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Voluntary work of relatives and friends.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Mainly men participated: Women are not usually expected to carry out field activities for cultural reasons. The coffee harvest is the only activity where men and women work together in the field.

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 self-mobilization individual land user; the initiative was initiated by an individual land user
planning self-mobilization step by step
implementation self-mobilization land user; the project was implemented by the individual land user, relatives and neighbours participated voluntarily in terrace construction
monitoring/ evaluation self-mobilization by the individual land user; the project is monitored and evaluated by the individual land user
Research interactive post-implementation documentation (participatory)

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

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • land users alone (self-initiative)
Explain:

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by by land users alone (self-initiative / bottom-up)

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?

No

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?

Yes

  • through interaction of land users
Describe/ comments:

Key elements: Observations, farmer-to-farmer exchange of ideas.

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?

Yes

Comments:

Bio-physical aspects were ad hoc monitored by land users through observations; indicators: growth of seedlings

Economic / production aspects were ad hoc monitored by 0 through observations; indicators: comparison of yields between different years

no. of land users involved aspects were ad hoc monitored by 0 through observations; indicators: None

There were few changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: There were a few changes due to the observations made by the land user: he started to apply supplementary irrigation to the tree seedlings, as well as applying manure each year.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?

Yes

Give further details and indicate who did the research:

There had been no research until the identification and documentation of this initiative through a Tajik-Swiss project under the framework of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South (coordinated by the the Centre for Development and Environment, Switzerland).

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: other (land user/private): 100.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

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

No

5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

Comments:

All the inputs were fully financed by the land user himself. This included hand tools, fruit tree seedlings, vines, manure, supplementary irrigation, water transport by donkey and by car.

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?

No

5.5 Other incentives or instruments

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

No

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

There has been a significant, though localised, improvement in soil and water management.

Did the Approach empower socially and economically disadvantaged groups?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

Other land users from Khagatai village have adopted the system on the same hillside. They started fencing-off plots in the 1990s during the civil war. At that time many people were unemployed, and labour was therefore available. Furthermore there was a shortage in food supplies and people relied on . It was very unusual during the soviet times for a villager to take the initiative to establish a private plot on state land. However in this example, the success in establishing a vineyard on an overgrazed hill convinced the administration of its worth. Other land users have now followed this approach.

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

6.2 Main motivation of land users to implement SLM

  • increased production
  • environmental consciousness
  • well-being and livelihoods improvement

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

Because this approach is based on local initiatives there is no reason why it should not be sustainable. The insecure land use rights are the only potential risk to the continuation of the activities.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Rehabilitation of marginal land for production and generation of additional income. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Give property rights to land users to motivate further investments in soil and water conservation/production.)
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Bottom-up approach: independent decision making by the individual land user based on dynamic and flexible responses as required. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Give property rights to land users to motivate further investments in soil and water conservation/production.)

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

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Current systems of land ownership, currently the land belongs to Khagatai. Provide land ownership to the farmers.
Not all farmers can apply this technology since it is location specific. Identify if fodder production (cut-and-carry) would be more attractive than open grazing; allocate land to the farmers.
Only families with sufficient labour resources can establish such a garden by themselves. Incentives from the state or other organisations are needed.
Since it is an initiative of an individual land user, the SWC technology has not been documented so far, nor evaluated, and lessons learned have not been spread among the land users. Documentation and spreading of lessons learned.

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