How UNDP / GEF project and Ministry of Agriculture improve desert livestock

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Photo: UNDP/Turkmenistan

‘Serdar’ livestock farm in Chardzhev etrap of Lebap velayat was chosen to improve its adaptation practices in the face of climate change in the breeding of small ruminants in arid regions. For this, a joint project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), analyzed the current situation and, together with local residents, developed a local adaptation plan for ‘Serdar’.

Issues identified: The period between 2002 and 2005 was very difficult for the livestock sector due to climate change. As a result of the drought, the capacity of pastures decreased, most of the wells dried up and could not provide sufficient water for cattle breeding and household needs. In 2018, there was a lot of precipitation, and vice versa, there was a problem of precipitation accumulation, because the area lacked sardobs as most of them were not repaired for a long time and were destroyed.

As a result, uneven distribution of wells in desert pastures, lack of infrastructure such as roads, and poor conditions for herders' resting places in the desert inevitably lead to a high concentration of herds around large settlements, wells and main roads, leading to overgrazing and desertification. As a result, the area of ​​pastures suitable for desert cattle breeding is shrinking, competition for the remaining places is increasing, and the income of the population employed in this area is decreasing.

To implement the adaptation plan, ‘Serdar’ livestock farm applied for a grant to improve the condition of pastures, conditions for keeping small ruminants and the purchase of equipment for desert cattle breeding. This application will be considered by the Commission for the grant activities of the project and, if approved, ‘Serdar’ will begin to improve the practice of livestock farming in the face of climate change.

The proposal foresees construction of the corral and a shepherd's house, which will improve the conditions for keeping animals, housing for the shepherds of the farm, as well as contribute to the sustainable management of pastures on an area of 250,000 hectares.

Currently, the project "Supporting climate resilient livelihoods in agricultural communities in drought-prone areas of Turkmenistan" supports 6 farming unions and 2 livestock farms, including ‘Serdar’, located in Lebap and Dashoguz regions. For each farm and union, local adaptation plans have been developed in cooperation with local residents and the administration to deal with the effects of climate change.

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