Scientific research

Improvement of land in arid conditions through the cultivation of high-quality pistachio plantations

Author: Knowledge Management in CACILM Phase II, ICARDA.

Definition of technology:

Establishment of pistachio plantations on gentle slopes to increasesoil productive functions, prevention of degradation andproductivity restoration of landscapes in foothill arid zone.

Brief summary of technology:

The land with slopes in Uzbekistan occupies about 400.000 haand is used as pasture or for rainfed agriculture. Because of lowprecipitation, the productivity of the rainfed land does not always compensate investment expenses, and pastures are over-grazedand degraded. Landscape restoration in foothill and lowmountainousarid zone is possible by establishing of pistachioplantations capable to grow and produce yields in extremely dryconditions.

A pistachio cultivation technology traditionally begins with a soilpreparation (plowing, chiseling). Planting is preceded by an installationof pegs on planting locations by a 6х8 m scheme (planting density of 208 trees/ha). For prevention of eating saplings by animals,a plantation is fenced with a barbed wire with planting ofdogrose trees. In 2-3 years the dogrose itself becomes a spiky obstacle, and the wire is used in other sites. Post-planting irrigationis carried out at the rate of 1.5-2 l per 1 plant, and during thethree summer months irrigations are carried out 3-5 times permonth in the primitive dripping way from plastic bottles. A plantationlocated in the rainfed zone with semi-sufficient provisionof precipitation (300-500 mm/year), the irrigation is carried outonly during the first 2 years. During the first 8 years tilleddrought-resistant crops such as saflor, peas, lucerne are grown inthe inter-rows of the plantation, which compensates initial investmentsto a certain degree. Mineral fertilizers are applied: 290kg/ha of ammoniac saltpeter (N of 33-34.5 %) and 220 kg/ha of superphosphate (P of 45 %). In the 3rd – 4th years after plantinginoculation of pistachios by the chosen variety is carried out foracceleration of fructification.

Long-term pistachio gardening is very favorable as productivity ofa garden pistachio is ca. 1 t/ha, and life expectancy is more than1000 years.

The dogrose planted along a fence fructifies within 20-25 years,and is also an additional source of income.

Location: Farish district, Dzhizak province.

Area of technology application:

42 ha.

Stage of intervention: mitigation / reductionof land degradation.

Main land use issues and the main causes of land degradation:

Low sufficiency of moisture from natural precipitation,lack of the surface water sources, increasing anthropogenicburden and improper land use managementwith violation of ecological norms promote desertificationof the foothill areas.

Main technical features of technology:

Improvement of soil cover, increase of organic matter,nutritious elements and soil fertility. 

Type of land use Conservation measures

Mixed land.

Agropastoralizm - arable land and pasture land -Сп(Mp).

Vegetation measures:

В1: Coverage with trees and bushes.

Management measures:

У1: Change of land use type.

Environment

Habitat Anthropogenic environment

Average annual rainfall: 250-500 mm.

Altitude (meter above sea level): 100-500 m.

Landscape: slopes.

Slope (%): 8-16%.

Soil fertility: low.

Humus content in arable horizon: low (<1%).

Natural soil drainage/infiltration: moderate.

Size of land area (ha): 15-50 ha.

Landholder: farmers.

Land ownership: state, lease.

Water use rights: -

Market orientation: mixed farming (subsistence andcommercial).

Assessment

Impact of technology

Main advantages:

- high profitability (500-600% in 18 years of existence),i.e. a profit is 5-6 soum per each invested soum;

- pistachio gardening is more acceptable form of landuse than animal husbandry and rainfed arable landfrom the point of view of stability of ecosystems ofthe dry foothills of Uzbekistan;

- investments made in a pistachio plantation, giveprofit during all life of the farmer and his descendants- life expectancy of a pistachio is more than1000 years.

Main disadvantages:

- duration of the benefit expectation period (up to 10years);

- insufficient economic level of the farmers to investin long-term prospects.

Acceptance/adoption of technology: The technology was introduced in the frame of the Project of the SmallGrants Program and was positively accepted by farmers. A financial support is needed for the wide disseminationas financial weakness does not allow farmers to invest in long-term prospects. Another probable constrain isthe fact that the land is not private, but rented.

Reference(s): WOCAT Database . Technology code: T_UZB001ru. Compiled by: T. Hamzina, CACILM MSEC. Date: 12.09.2011.

Contact person: Alexey Volkov, UNDP.

Address: 4, T.Shevchenko str., Tashkent 100029, Uzbekistan.

Tel.: (+998 71) 120-34-50; 120-61-67 (inner. 145); Fax: (+998 71) 120-34-85.

E-mail:  alexey.volkov@undp.org

Name of person (s) collected this description: Tatyana Hamzina, Chief specialist on soil reclamation studies and irrigationregime. UZGIP LTD.

Address: 44, Navoi str., Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Tel.: +998 90 9945654.

Email:  tatyana_khamzina@mail.ru

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