The Khatlon region of Tajikistan, currently transitioning from a water-intensive cotton-dominated agriculture system to private small-scale horticultural production, still shows the legacy of a centrally planned economy. Women provide most of the manual farm labor, but often lack resources and new technologies, access to finance, and a reliable irrigation source, all of which limit their productivity. As a direct result of these obstacles, many women and children in the region lack access to and consumption of vitamin A, iron, zinc, iodine, and animal proteins — challenges that have led to a 31 percent stunting rate and 7 percent wasting rate.
To address these complex smallholder production and nutritional issues, the USAID Feed the Future Tajikistan Agriculture and Water Activity expands access to agricultural extension, increases production, improves access to irrigation, and boosts the consumption of nutritious goods. Agricultural extension activities train public and private agricultural extension agents on how to reach appropriate audiences to disperse agriculture technologies, develop international partnerships to access improved inputs, and support innovative and sustainable private sector involvement. Such activities help improve farmers’ access to finance as well.
The project also improves vegetable and dairy production by identifying best practices, strengthening greenhouse usage, and improving supply chains. The third goal of the project is to implement and improve irrigation water management. By doing so, farmers will have improved water availability and the ability to plan their production accordingly. These efforts lead directly to improving nutrition, especially among children in the Khalton region.
By promoting public outreach and education in multiple-use water sources, as well as managing and reducing trash, the project supports the reduction of water-borne disease. Outreach also plays a key role in the project, helping to reinforce behavioral changes in agricultural production and nutritional awareness through conducting multiple outreach campaigns.