There I was, a young agriculturalist, amongst two hundred senior specialists. I had a question, raised my hand, and took the microphone. For a moment I thought: “Nizami, what are you doing?”
But my curiosity got the better of me. Even though my hands were sweating and my voice was trembling.
So, what was the question? “What are FAO’s future plans when it comes to the implementation of the Conservation Agriculture (CA) technology in the Central Asia and Caucasus (CAC) region?”
Several scholars from international organizations spoke about sustainable soil management issues in the CAC region on the first day of the #GCARD3 Regional Consultation for Central Asia and the Caucasus in Bishkek. They described the issues of soil degradation and opportunities for yield increase in the region. However, none of them had mentioned past and future projects related to conservation agriculture (CA) – such as mini-tillage – in the CAC countries.
So, I asked my question. And Mr. Vargas from FAO answered… “FAO had carried out several projects in CA in the South Caucasus as well as in Central Asia. However, this is not the only way to protect soil and increase yield. There are some other modern technologies which can be used and FAO has a plan to implement these new methodologies.”
After the session I discovered that my question is actually one of the hot topics in the CAC region. It was of interest to many people. After the session, several representatives from international agricultural organizations, such as CGIAR, the Rural Business and Development Center (RBDC) and ICARDA as well as the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan approached me to talk about their conservation farming projects in the CAC region. I realized that many projects had been implemented in this region, but more had to be done so the experiences could be shared between the countries.
For instance, Mr. Seymur Safarli, the head of the Crop Production Department at the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, highlighted that FAO had indeed implemented a sub-regional project related to conservation agriculture in irrigated land in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. He also spoke about the field trials carried out using no-tillage technologies in two regions of Azerbaijan. Moreover, Mr. Richard Thomas, the director for Research Program on Dryland Systems, also referred to developments related to zero-tillage technologies in Middle Eastern countries.
After talking with these experts I realized that several projects were carried out and the implementation of CA technologies depended very much on local conditions, such as climate, soil quality, and traditions. Yet experiences had not been shared among the countries in the region. Nonetheless, I am pleased that my question raised an interest with people who work in the sector and they were glad to share their experiences.
Moreover, I got an idea to start a research project on this topic and organize a seminar where the representatives of these organizations can meet and share their knowledge and experiences.
So, I asked a question… And everyone’s reaction encouraged me: “Maybe I am asking a question that many have on their mind, but few dare to ask”.
Will I ask a question in the next sessions? You bet!
Blogpost by Nizami Imamverdiyev, #GCARD3 Social Reporter –imamverdiyev25(at)gmail.com
Picture courtesy of Nizami Imamverdiyev
This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Regional Consultation for Central Asia and the Caucasus. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.