“In all pilot regions of our projects, irrigated agriculture accounts to a vital share of the economy. At the same time, most of the population of these regions lives in rural areas. That is why our projects focused on the Dashoguz and Lebap regions, which are mainly agricultural and largely depend on the condition of irrigated lands,” explained Natia Natsvlishvili, UNDP Resident Representative a.i..
Laser land leveling is one of the key innovations, which is designed to prepare the basis for the further transition to resource-saving technologies. The main goal of the land leveling in agriculture is to eliminate irregularities in the surface of the field, which impede the implementation of high-quality irrigation and mechanized agrotechnical measures. The even surface of the field creates conditions for seeding the seeds to the required depth, for uniform distribution of irrigation water and moistening throughout the field, which in turn ensures uniform seedling and plant development, and, accordingly, obtaining a high yield and increasing the efficiency of water resources use.
For information disseminate purposes on the modern land leveling technologies in Turkmenistan, UNDP / GEF project specialists regularly conduct practical trainings and seminars for specialists from the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, the State Committee for Water Management, local farmers, representatives of the Turkmen Agricultural Institute, and the Institute of Turkmensuvylymtaslama at pilot agricultural fields located in Akhal, Dashoguz and Lebap regions to familiarize themselves with opportunities of using laser leveling method of irrigated land and the proper operation of the laser equipment. During the seminars, participants in practice are testing laser technology and receive advise from experts.
“Over the past 2 years, on farms in which, with the assistance of UNDP / GEF projects, laser land leveling was used for the first time, the quality of irrigation was significantly improved, the time of irrigation was reduced, manual labor use during irrigation was reduced, water saving was 20-30%, yield increased by 20-25%,” says the specialist of the joint project of UNDP / GEF and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Ovezdurdy Dzhumadurdyev. “Residents especially observed the effect of laser leveling during washing and irrigation operations, when the water was evenly distributed throughout the field and not a single hill was visible where additional water would have to be delivered.”
At the research site of 145 hectares of the Water Research Institute “Turkmensuwylymtaslama”, field trials of the laser leveling and practical training for specialists from interested departments and farms were also conducted to demonstrate the capabilities of this equipment. Taking into account all the benefits of leveling the surface of the fields with the help of a laser planner, UNDP / GEF experts at various bilateral meetings and seminars with specialists from agricultural and water management structures recommended that this equipment be widely introduced into production.
In August 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan began the purchase of laser planners. The first batch of 40 pieces of equipment arrived in Turkmenistan in summer of 2019. At the moment, field trainings are being held for tractor drivers in order to properly operate the equipment and avoid equipment breakdowns from improper operation and excessive fuel consumption.