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Abstract

The Republic of Tajikistan is a land locked country, where most of the territory (93%) is occupied by mountains. Poverty is quite widespread with about half of the country’s population living below the poverty line. The poorest people in the country reside in the Khatlon region, where 78 per cent of the population lives under the national poverty line and where land is degraded, the availability of inputs and credit is limited, irrigation facilities are lacking, and access to improved technologies and markets is poor (World Bank, 2015). About 50 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for livelihood, and most farmers lack access to adequate inputs, resources, technology and markets. Livestock is a key part of the agricultural sector and it is of critical importance in the livelihood strategy of poor rural households in Tajikistan. The pasture management system in Tajikistan remains largely unchanged since Soviet times with the exception that the lowest rung in the management system (corporate farms) no longer has adequate resources for pasture upkeep nor an adequate management system. The inadequacy of such a centralized management system is reflected in the overexploitation of pasture which has led to a vicious cycle of ever-lower animal yields and rural income, which is triggered by the legitimate will of farmers to increase their livestock production by adding animal units. This, in turn, has created a greater demand for feed, leading to a decrease in the feed per animal ratio, to a deterioration of the grazing land and to a further fall in animal weight. As a result, the rise in livestock inventories coupled with the fall in feed supplies has meant the dramatic fall of livestock productivity, low milk and meat yields and land degradation in the country, further worsening poverty among households. To address and overcome these problems, the Government of Tajikistan launched the Livestock and Pasture Development Project (LPDP) in August 2011, a project financed jointly by IFAD and the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan. The project had the goal of reducing poverty in the Khatlon region, increasing the nutritional status and incomes of rural poor households by boosting livestock productivity through the improvement of the productive capacity of pastures.

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