Integrated farming on irrigated lands for adaptation to changing climate

Published: May 2019
Last edited: July 2019
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Irrigated cultivation of onion, potatoes, corn and other crops is hampered by poor agricultural practice and these challenges are increasingly exacerbated by the impact of climate change. The impacts of already visible trends and predictions cause a reduction of available irrigation water, while higher temperatures and expansion of irrigated agriculture lead to higher irrigation water demand. Current irrigated agriculture has low irrigation water use efficiency.

The solution addresses these problems in an integrated way, combining several elements through an agricultural extension service:

- Agricultural extension service provides tailored advise;
- Adapted agricultural inputs are provided at part loan basis through the extension services to ease the application of technical advice and reduce transaction costs for the farmers;

- Technological assistance in form of seeding machines, cultivation and irrigation technologies;

- Crop diversification considers climate change and market demand.


North and Central Asia
Scale of implementation
Food security
Health and human wellbeing
Outreach & communications
Sustainable livelihoods
Water provision and management
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with associations


Sughd Province, Tajikistan | Districts Devashtich, Spitamen, J. Rasulov, Gorno-Mastcha, Panjakent


The high costs of inputs are for most farmers not affordable at the time, when they are needed. Commercial loans are either not available or not affordable. Therefore loans at better conditions than typical commercial loans are needed. The involved agricultural extension service provides this loan.


- Farmers involved in irrigated agriculture;

- Villagers using irrigation water for home garden plots and also for household needs;

- Agricultural extension service

How do the building blocks interact?

The building blocks are integrated at each farm in a specific way. The agricultural extenstion service is instrumental for bringing the building blocks together and providing each farmer with the solution, which is suitable for his side conditions, impact of ongoing and predicted climate change, the economic situation at farm level as well as the market situation for the produced crops.


Environmental impacts:

- Reduced consumption of irrigation water;

- Maintained and improved soil fertility.


Social impacts:

- Improved awareness about climate change impact and the direct link between the quality of agricultural input and practices and resulting yield and crop quality;

- Increase in the confidence, capacity and status of farmers;

- Involved extension service and agricultural departments gained knowledge;

- The collaboration between farmers, extension services and agricultural departments was consolidated;

- Potential of conflicts about irrigation water within and between villages is reduced.

Economic impacts:

- The farmers were enabled to apply technical advice from the extension service as agricultural inputs were made easier available and affordable;
- The improved irrigation efficiency leads to "more crop per drop" and thus to reduced costs for irrigation water;

- Increase in yields and crop quality stabilized food security;

- More reliable quantities and quality of crop allow improved market access;
- Higher yields and better marketability increased incomes of farmers;

- The demand for inputs improved business and employment opportunities of provider of inputs.



The farmers in Sughd region heavily depend on income from irrigated cultivation of onions. They used locally available seeds and sowed them directly by hand into the fields. Farmers would not get credits for purchase of seeds, fertilizer and persticides. So fertilizer and pesticides were hardly affordable and farmers had limited knowledge of their application. In the result the fertility of lend dropped, yields were low and unreliable and the quality of the harvested onions was diverse with a low percentage of onions marketable at optimum prices.


The agricultural extension service of the OJC Neksigol helped the farms  with a package of seeds of locally adapted and very productive onion varieties, the necessary fertilizer and pesticides for which detailed instructions were given on application, dosages and safety. For all these inputs the farm would pay half of the price at the time of purchase and half after collection of harvest. The interest rate would be in the range of the difference between bulk price, at which the extension service purchased the inputs, and typical retail prices. This is much below typical commercial interest rates. A special hand seeding machine was provided to use the suitable amount of the expensive seeds. By propagating the onion seedlings under a sheet greenhouse much less seeds, irrigation water and agrochemicals are needed than with the conventional method of direct sowing in the field. And most important - the transplanted onion seedlings grow faster and more evenly. 


So the farm can now with much reduced costs produce better and more onions. This provides a more secure and higher income to the farm staff.   

Contributed by

Stefan Michel

Other contributors

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH