The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations will help restore pastures in Central Asian countries. The agricultural development project will take place in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. The project is the largest in the world, developed in conjunction with the Global Environment Fund. It is designed for five years with more than US$75 million allocated for research and implementation of new technologies.

VIOREL GUTU, SUBREGIONAL COORDINATOR FOR CENTRAL ASIA, FAO:

 - Various small projects related to the introduction of highly productive drought resistant varieties of plants will be implemented. Moreover, some technologies related to crop rotation would also be implemented. This is when we try to renew our soil resources by simply exchanging crops that are grown on the same land and solve the problems related to the use of various methods of irrigation.

As part of the project, the soil and restore irrigation systems will be improved in Kazakhstan. According to the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture, there are 180 million hectares of pastures in the country whereby 20 million of hectares of the area are undeveloped. Experts plan to expand the pastures by reducing the cost of meat products due to inexpensive natural feeds. Today, scientists believe that one of the main problems is water scarcity.

KAIRAT NAZHMIDENOV, OFFICE-IN-CHARGE, FAO IN KAZAKHSTAN:

 - There are programs to restore those wells that existed during Soviet era. Now, as part of the project, we will test on whether we need to restore the wells or it is necessary to install new wells. Perhaps, we will find some other solutions to this problem.

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