19-21 September 2022 | Nukus, Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan. ECO-ARAL in partnership with International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) conducted 3-days training of trainers (T o T) programme on “Sustainable Cultivation of Licorice”. 23 participants consisting of specialists from International Innovation Centre in the Aral Sea (IICAS), Tashkent State Agrarian University and Karakalpak Agriculture Research Institute took part in the training that was held at the premises of IICAS.

Licorice industry has been one of the main local economic sources for many years. The plant’s root is used in a wide range of manufacturing like agriculture, pharmacy, food production, steel industry, perfumery, and cosmetology. ICBA won a tender announced by GIZ on the topic of “Sustainable cultivation of licorice” to conduct trainings for trainers on capacity building activities for sustainable licorice cultivation.

The overall goal of the training concept is to enable smallholder farmers and MSME (Micro, small and medium size enterprises) to attain higher agricultural productivity, improved food security and incomes, and more resilient livelihoods through the rehabilitation and sustainable management of irrigated salt-affected farming areas in the Aral Sea regions. Cultivation of licorice in these abandoned areas will bring these lands back into production.

During the training the participants learnt about the varieties of licorice and the suitable areas of growth in Karakalpakstan. The participants also discussed about the challenges for licorice growth and phytochemical compound secretion in degraded lands.

Moreover, the trainers provided recommendations on implementation of science-based measures to identify negative processes and introduction to new production technologies of licorice for creation of higher yields, monitoring and evaluation of licorice production and integrating it into agricultural value chains.

The 3-day T o T increased the knowledge of the participants on sustainable cultivation practices, water-saving irrigation methods, licorice cultivation in saline soils, sustainable harvesting methods for an increase in soil fertility and water content relevant to MSME, along with the licorice value chain from the agriculture and forestry sectors. The participants also learnt about appropriate teaching methods and application of them for the conduction of an on-site practical training for MSME.