The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) has been working with its partners, the SAROB cooperative, ACTED, Camp Kuhiston and the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme, to implement a European Union-funded program designed to help farmers improve their yields – thereby providing their families with greater food security and more nutritious diets – and protect their livelihoods, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

The program, Improving Livelihoods and Food Security through Sustainable Natural Resource Management, has reportedly supported 15 farmers to establish a local Agriculture Producer Group, as well as an Agriculture Input Revolving Fund (AIRF).

Some program funds were used to provide a particular variety of potato seeds, “Big Rose”, to the AIRF, with the idea being that once members improved their yields they would be able to return seed potatoes to the AIRF after harvest, and in this way help other farmers.  Funds were also used to conduct trainings in up-to-date methods of potato growing storage and disease prevention.

Potatoes are a labor-intensive crop and a large quantity is needed to provide food for the village residents, as well as a portion kept aside to replant for the following year’s harvest.  Big Rose potatoes have grown very well in the Sughd province.  In the past, a good year would usually result in roughly 2.2 tons of potatoes per tenth of a hectare.  

Since June 2016, the Improving Livelihoods and Food Security through Sustainable Natural Resource Management  program has worked directly with over 800 farmers planting fruit orchards, growing seed potatoes and vegetable crops, processing dairy products and growing rose hips, amongst other things.  Activities have also extended to more than 10,000 beneficiaries who have improved their knowledge of agricultural land use technologies and become participants in the potato revolving fund.