The Aga-Khan Foundation in Tajikistan (AKF) organized “Farmer’s Day” event in Khatlon province in the frame of “Pilot Project for Agribusiness Development in Tajikistan” funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and implemented by AKF Tajikistan.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Resident Office in Tajikistan says the event took place in Jura Nazarov jamoat of Shahritous district on May 26, 2022 with the participation of officials from district Government, Representative of JICA Tajikistan office, Head of Programmes of Aga-Khan Foundation in Tajikistan and more than 50 farmers from Shahritous, Nosir-Khusrav and Qubodiyon districts.

The purpose of “Farmers’ Day” event was to introduce and raise wider awareness amongst farmers from other jamoats and districts about locally reproduced quality agricultural inputs such as wheat seeds. Earlier, in autumn 2021 the project provided farmers in target districts with 129 tons of quality elite variety wheat seeds imported from Russian Federation.  To strengthen seed-revolving funds, which allows farmers to have access to high quality seeds, 10 Agriculture Input Revolving Funds (AIRF) were established. Through these AIRFs the total of 595 farmers planted wheat seeds in an area of 640 hectares and anticipate the harvest of around 4000 tons.

Kikuchi Takeshi, Representative of JICA Tajikistan office expressed his gratitude to the Government of Tajikistan and AKF for their collaboration and emphasized the importance of agriculture sector in the economy of Tajikistan.  Mr. Kikuchi says, “The stable food security status highly depends to sustainable domestic agriculture production therefore JICA has been continuously supporting the Government of Tajikistan through implementation of important projects in agriculture sector”. He added “I am pleased to be here today and share these moments with farmers of Shahritus district, who are going to harvest the first yield of the wheat seed provided by the project. I am sure that the revolved seeds of the project will strongly contribute to enrichment of seedbanks in Tajikistan.”

“We, at Aga Khan Foundation, are very pleased that our joint project has contributed to a significant increase in wheat harvest. And very importantly the farmers participating in this project are actively applying, sharing their market-based approach, experiences by expanding the access to quality seeds to other farmers in Khatlon. AKF values such a productive partnership with JICA and Government of Tajikistan.” stated Mr. Javlon Hamdamov, Head of Programmes, AKF Tajikistan.

Muzaffarov Mamadloik, a farmer whose farmland was visited by participants of event.  While introducing his farmland he shared “I have received from AIRF 200kg of elite wheat seed, variety Alekseeich along with 320 kg fertilizer and planted in an area of one hectare.  My neighbor planted local variety wheat seeds and harvested a yield of 3 tons from one hectare.  I am expecting the harvest of 7-8 tons and unlike previous years I am planning to sell it as seeds for planting, not for consumption as food. It will increase my income and allow other farmers to benefit during the next agriculture season”.

It should be noted that, the Pilot project for Agribusiness Development in Tajikistan” is in the

frame of JICA’s initiatives on introducing the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) approach, which aims to build the capacity of farmers to increase income and improve the access to markets for their produce.

The Aga Khan Foundation has been implementing innovative development solutions in Tajikistan since 1993. Central to its efforts have been inclusive, community-based development approaches in which community-based organizations identify, prioritize and implement projects with the Foundation’s assistance.

The AKFs programs in Tajikistan focus on six areas: agriculture and food security, economic inclusion, health and nutrition, education, early childhood development and civil society.  Its initiatives address cross-cutting themes including gender equality, pluralism, human resource development and public awareness of development issues. Through its activities in all four regions of Tajikistan, AKF is reaching to approximately 1.9 million people.

JICA began its technical cooperation with Tajikistan in 1993 by inviting Tajik officials to gain knowledge and experience on governance and macroeconomics development.  As of March 2020, a total number of participants to JICA’s Knowledge Co-Creation Programs, formerly called the Training Programs, has exceeded 2380 people.  JICA Office was established in Tajikistan in 2006 and since then various Grant Financial Assistance and Technical Cooperation projects have been implemented more dynamically, aiming at improving living standard of Tajik people for the sectors such as agriculture and rural development, water supply, health, transport, energy, capacity building as well as SME promotion.  JICA’s cumulative investment portfolio in Tajikistan in all sectors comprises 44 projects amounting to more than 418.5 million USD (94.66 million USD for Technical Cooperation and 324 million USD for Grant Assistance), including 14 ongoing projects.