Within the framework of the joint project, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Economy of Turkmenistan, with the financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have organized research work of postgraduate students at the Turkmen Agricultural University and Water design and research institute “Turkmensuwylymtaslama” to determine the most optimal types of irrigation and land use in the cultivation of crops.
In April 2018 under the leadership of their professors and with the support of the UNDP / GEF project, young researchers have begun to conduct research on the effectiveness of crop cultivation and increase soil productivity during watering with water-saving irrigation technologies. The preliminary results of the first planting season, which already started but not yet completed, are achieved. Under the conditions of late unfavorable planting times (mass seedlings were obtained at the end of May), as a result of field experiments on low-yield soils subject to severe secondary salinization, without carrying out irrigation, young scientists were able to obtain the following crop yields in the registered pilot plots:
1) Beets - 205 centners / ha with drip irrigation
2) Beans - 15 centners / ha with drip irrigation
3) Carrots (expected yield) - 73 centners / ha with drip irrigation
4) Cotton (expected yield) - 35 centners/ha with drip irrigation and 25 centners/ha with sprinkling irrigation
5) Lucerne - 70 centners/ha with sprinkling irrigation
6) Corn (grain) - 68 centners / ha with drip irrigation
7) Winter barley - 19 centner / ha with furrow irrigation.
Preliminary results of field experiments show that the use of modern water-saving irrigation technologies with a high level of agrotechnical work in the cultivation of agricultural crops can significantly reduce the cost of irrigation water in obtaining crop production.
“Despite the fact that Turkmenistan is rich in hydrocarbon resources and other minerals, the water resources of the country are limited and mainly come from neighboring countries. According to scientists, global warming will increase the demand for water, which is already a scarce resource. Therefore, the implementation of the most rational methods of irrigation and land cultivation is a very important task for water and agriculture management in the face of the increasing risks of climate change” stated Geldi Muradov, Project manager.
One of the main priorities of the project is to strengthen the practice of water resources management at the local and national levels to create conditions for the sustainable development of irrigated agriculture in response to the emerging risk of water shortage in Turkmen farms. Young scientists track and measure the amount of water used to produce agricultural products, the amount of energy that spent per unit of production, the bulk of necessary mineral and organic fertilizers, indicators of soil moisture, and the level of soil salinity and indicators of land reclamation improvement.