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SUFACHAIN project kicks off to promote sustainable land management in Central Asia

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, March 17, 2023

On 13 and 14 March, 22 scientists, eight entrepreneurs and representatives from five civil society organisations from Germany and Central Asia gathered at the Plaza Hotel in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to kick off the SUFACHAIN project. The workshop was opened with welcome addresses presented by Dr. Hendrik Meurs on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Vice-rector for academic work of I. Razzakov Kyrgyz State Technical University, Associate Prof. Rimma Elemanova, and Prof. Dr. Dietrich Darr of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences. During the event, participants engaged in structured discussions highlighting the overall research agenda and existing constraints. Additionally, respective working groups comprising of scientific experts (including Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, TU Dresden, I. Razzakov Kyrgyz State Technical University, National Academy of Science of KR, Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University, Mountain Society Research Institute, German-Kazakh University and Uzbek National University), industry partners (Organic Services GmbH, KAFLU, DANECO, Altyn Bak LLC, Global Agro Trade and Logistics Centre LLC, Advantex and Kyrgyz Community Based Tourism) and international organizations (Aga Khan Foundation, GIZ, UNDP, KIVA / KRASS and World Agroforestry Center) discussed opportunities for mutual contribution to collectively achieve sustainable development in Central Asia through the adoption of innovative agroforestry systems.

After completion of the workshop, with support of local partners, the research group from Germany and Central Asia visited the agroforestry sites and corresponding value chain s in the Batken region. Participants gained first-hand insights into the operations and processes in the local farmer cooperatives, peri-urban markets, and food processing enterprises. The visit allowed the group to identify experimental sites, collect fruit and nut samples for further research to foster sustainable land management within the scope of agroforestry practices in Central Asia. “The SUFACHAIN project is very beneficial and necessary not only for Kyrgyzstan, but the whole Central Asia to develop effective agroforestry systems. I am sure that the project will provide an excellent scientific base for the practical realization of various agroforestry methods and use the natural resources more efficiently,“ said Aitkul Burkhanov, the General Director of the Kyrgyz Association of Forest and Land Users.

The SUFACHAIN project is a collaborative effort between universities, research institutions, NGOs, and agribusiness SMEs in Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project intends to promote sustainable land management and agroforestry value chains in Central Asia by developing knowledge and technologies aimed at increasing the profitability, resource efficiency, and product quality in the cultivation, processing and marketing of apricots, walnuts and other fruits.