State Support Encourages Intensive Gardening in South Kazakhstan

SOUTH-KAZAKHSTAN REGION – Nurlan Kuralov, director of Amankeldi LLP, plans to grow one million trees on his 420 hectares of gardens and vineyards with the use of intensive technology.

The South Kazakhstan region is betting on the development of intensive gardening, combining the efforts of farmers, local authorities and the state – which has the role of attracting funds and modern technologies through financial institutions for development. In a few years, they plan to have 10 hectares of intensive gardens.

In addition, six nurseries are being created to supply home-grown seedlings, cheaper than the imported ones, to the domestic market. Now, the Shymkent Socio-Entrepreneurial Corporation has developed a special programme for intensive gardening that helped farms introduce a new form of crop management. One of these farms is Amankeldi, created 15 years ago as a farm specialising in the cultivation of grain.

In 2007, they laid out 10 hectares of vineyards with help from a state subsidy programme, and a few years later collected an initial harvest that surpassed all expectations. That bounty was crucial in deciding the partnership’s future specialisation.

Today, there are 120 hectares of grapes and 300 hectares of orchards in the partnership, including 100 hectares of trees grown with drip irrigation, a technology for more intensive farming. Several years ago, the farmers of Amankeldi defined their strategy, having realised that growing gardens without drip irrigation was a waste of money. Now, the state only subsidises the establishment of orchards that use drip irrigation, encouraging farmers to conserve water and use modern technologies.

“We have come to understand that gardening should be intensive; otherwise it’s a waste of time and money. This year, we will collect the first harvest of cherries, apples [and] apricots that were planted 5-6 years ago. And our intensive garden planted in 2013 will yield apples already this fall. This orchard’s main feature is that, thanks to a special species of seedlings and special planting and watering systems, it yields its first crop just a year after planting. Thus, in a couple of years, we will have an industrial crop yield that is 10 times higher than that grown in a typical garden,” Kuralov said.

In order to turn their dreams into reality, the partnership invited agronomists from Turkey to work with them, closely monitoring the planting process and giving advice on caring for their plants. Arslan Birol has 15 years of experience with the Gulbudah company in the Turkish city of Sparta. The company has a well-developed production line that covers the entire production chain, from harvesting to storage to sale.

“You have excellent conditions for gardening, created by nature itself: there is a lot of sun, fertile land and water,” said Birol. Amankeldi grows seedlings imported from Uzbekistan, Turkey, Serbia and Italy. They are not cheap, and sometimes the farmers have to pay $10 for one nursery plant – and intensive gardening requires from 1,500 to 3,000 young trees per hectare. This led Kuralov to consider creating his own nursery. A trip to Italy in this respect was crucial. In negotiations with partners he suddenly said that he intends to lay out a garden and to grow one million trees.

Today there are already 500,000 trees in the orchard and his plan does not seem unrealistic, especially as he has now created a nursery with one million seedlings.

“We could not do this without state support; it is simply impossible. The help of KazAgro in introducing innovations in agriculture is indispensable. The farmers have no doubt that in a few years their products will be delivered directly to the consumer market without intermediaries and trade allowances and at affordable and reasonable prices,” said Kuralov.

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