On Oct. 9, 2015, an official ceremony took place on the coast of the Kara-Bulun Peninsular, Lake Issyk-Kul near the village of Kyzyl-Suu to open a demonstration drip irrigated zone. This initiative of the local Kainar Bulagy Jamaat was supported in 2014 by the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environmental Fund (SGP GEF/UNDP) and Kumtor Gold Company.

The GEF SGP has provided US $22,000 in grants for purchasing drip irrigation materials and training local farmers in sustainable water management methods. Kumtor, in its turn, has provided ten containers to build a large concrete water tank. Water, after accumulating in a tank from the local subsurface source, is pumped further through tubes and drips to water a 32-hectare garden where fruit trees of local Issyk-Kul varieties grow.

“Farming in Issyk-Kul province is among the priorities in our regional sustainable development strategy. It gives us double pleasure to support projects that promote innovative and efficient methods which enable farmers to increase efficiency and profitability of their farms,” said Aktilek Tungatarov, Director, Sustainable Development, KGC.

“The rich soil layer of the Kara-Bulun Peninsular, Issyk-Kul province decays from year to year thus accelerating land degradation and desertification. This project is designed to rehabilitate the land and preserve the endemic species of Issyk-Kul fruit and berries by creating a drip irrigated nursery garden,” said Yevgeniya Postnova, National Coordinator, GEF SGP.

“Disappearance of endemic species of apples, pears, currants and other fruit and berries creates a serious problem to the Issyk-Kul region. They are increasingly replaced by dwarf plants of foreign growth which are swift in producing good yields but short-lived. Moreover, we are losing traditions of growing tall fruit trees from kernels,” said Chynybek Abdykerimov, Leader, Kainar Bulagy Jamaat.

Jamaat founders have been independently dealing with the rehabilitation of the decaying land in the coastal area of Kyzyl-Suu Ayil Community for five years by transplanting traditional tall fruit trees and berries. As a result, they have planted 10,000 apple and pear trees within an area of 30 hectares. At present, the Kainar Bulagy Jamaat seeks to get young farmers involved in these activities and pass its experience to them.

The present 30-hectare demonstration ground is, so far, the largest in Kyrgyzstan. This project is a graphic proof that it is quite possible to attain lofty aims when domestic organizations join efforts with international institutions and active business structures.