ECO-ARAL in cooperation with the International Centre for agricultural research in the Dried Areas (ICARDA) selected ten farmers’ fields in Karakalpakstan and Khorezm region as piloting plots, to introduce crop diversification for increasing the economy and improvement of the soil quality in the Aral Sea region. The farmers are participating in the evaluation of innovative crop rotation plans to improve income and soil health compared to the traditional 2-year wheat-cotton rotation. On 12 September 2022, a field visit to the pilot farming lands were conducted with 22 participants from diverse background including farmers, researchers and technical experts in Khorezm region.

ECO-ARAL and ICARDA introduced new mungbean variety Durdona to the farmers that has erect growth habit suitable for machine harvesting. This kind of mungbean matures in 70 to 75 days and produces high yield and larger grains. Before the field visit the technical experts explained to the participants about the activity for the events. The participants also received information from the experts on different aspects of the mungbean crop that was planned to be observed during the field visit on the day.

For optimum yield mungbean should be planted as soon as possible after wheat harvest in Uzbekistan. Earlier planting ensures crop maturity before frost occurrence usually towards end of September and early October in the Aral Sea region. However, in practice farmers can plant mungbean only when water, machinery and labor are available for land preparation and planting. The farmers don’t have control over water in the irrigation canal, water is also needed for irrigating cotton at the same time. Because of these factors often beyond the control of the farmers, the five participant farmers in Khorezm planted mungbean between early July to middle of August. Therefore, on each of the fields, the field visit event participants witnessed the crops were at different growth stages.

The next event of farmers’ field demonstration will be organized when mungbean crop would have matured particularly in the timely planted fields. As well as this, a training event will also be organized for providing information on proper harvesting using machine, and post-harvest management of seed and grain during storage.

Photo: ©Bakhtiyor Khamidov/GIZ