Shokirjon Shamirov sur les hauteurs de son village Shirinob, au Tadjikistan.
Shokirjon Shamirov sur les hauteurs de son village Shirinob, au Tadjikistan.

Shokirjon Shamirov (60) from Tajikistan

«Today we can harvest more with less water»

Shokirjon Shamirov kneels in the small field in front of his house in Shirinob and digs in the ground with his hands. He spends the hours before midday in his kitchen garden tending to his plants. There is a lot to do as it is high season. For him and his family, the garden is indispensable. As self-supporters, they depend on a bountiful harvest.

After lunch, Shokirjon sets off by bike to the Caritas project fields. He is one of 25 farmers who cultivate various Caritas fields. New types of vegetables and irrigation systems are tested on these fields, and farming practices are optimised. This is important because conventional agriculture is becoming increasingly difficult in the region.

Shokirjon Shamirov vor seinem Haus in Shirinob, Tadschikistan.
«Before I became part of the Caritas project, I was a siple potato farmer. But the harvest was not good.»Shokirjon shamirovfarmer

Surrounded by mountains

Shirinob lies at almost 2'000 meters above sea level at the end of the Rasht Valley, surrounded by Tajikistan's highest mountains.

Rasht-Tal in Tadschikistan
Tadschikistan ist das ärmste Land in Zentralasien und leidet stark unter dem Klimawandel.

The climate changes rapidly and frequently

Climate change is having severe consequences in countries in the Global South. This is also the case in Central Asia, where Tajikistan is located. The weather is becoming more and more unsettled, the soil drier and the seasons shift. These changes are affecting Shokirjon Shamirov and many other people in the area. Most live from agriculture.

Shokirjon Shamirov ist ein einfacher Bauer im Rasht-Tal in Tadschikistan. Er ist einer, von 25 Landwirten, die direkt am Caritas-Projekt beteiligt sind.
«As farmers we are completely dependent on the weather.»

Conventional cultivation methods, which Shokirjon Shamirov and other farmers in the Rasht Valley practice, hardly hold up under these circumstances. «Our main concern here is the water supply», says Shokirjon Shamirov. There is never enough water for everyone and it has become more difficult to till the soil.

Your donation for more climate justice
Your data is safe with us.

The irrigation-intensive growing of potatoes poses particular challenges for Shokirjon. Potatoes are an important source of nutrition and income. But the yields have been declining for years. Together with Caritas, the mountain farmer has been following innovative paths since spring 2021 - with success.

Reliable weather data for the first time

Almost two and a half years ago, Caritas Switzerland, in cooperation with various partners such as MeteoSwiss, installed a weather-water-climate service (WWCS) and has been continuously expanding it ever since. To date, 64 simple and cost-efficient weather stations have been set up in Lakhsh District, where Shirinob is also located, as well as in eight other regions of Tajikistan. Another 100 will follow by the end of the summer.

The stations collect valuable data such as air temperature and humidity, wind and soil temperature. This information is automatically evaluated and processed by a system developed for the project. For the first time, farmers have access to reliable weather data. Some of them even have their own little weather station in the garden.

Working with the weather instead of against it: That is the motto of the climate projects in Tajikistan. © Reto Albertalli
1 / 7
Shokirjon Shamirov travaille sur les parcelles tests de Caritas Suisse au Tadjikistan et acquiert ainsi de précieuses connaissances agricoles.
Shokirjon Shamirov works on the test fields of Caritas Switzerland in Tajikistan and gains valuable agricultural knowledge. © Reto Albertalli
2 / 7
Avec son voisin et les deux fils du voisin, Shokirjon Shamirov plante des pommes de terre sur les parcelles tests de Caritas Suisse.
Together with his neighbour and his two sons Shokirjon Shamirov grows potatoes on the test fiels of Caritas Switzerland. © Reto Albertalli
3 / 7
Chez lui, Shokirjon Shamirov cultive un jardin. Grâce à Caritas, il a désormais beaucoup plus de connaissances et peut cultiver une grande variété de légumes, d'herbes et de fruits.
At home, Shokirjon Shamirov has his own garden. Thanks to Caritas, he now has a lot of knowledge and can grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and fruit. © Reto Albertalli
4 / 7
Shokirjon Shamirov avec son fils et sa belle-fille
Shokirjon Shamirov with his son and his daughter in law © Reto Albertalli
5 / 7
Avec les pommes de terre, le pain est l'un des principaux aliments dans les régions rurales du Tadjikistan. Deux fois par semaine, la belle-fille de Shokirjon prépare du pain frais.
Along with potatoes, bread is one of the most important foods of the rural population in Tajikistan. Shokirjon's daughter-in-law bakes fresh bread twice a week. © Reto Albertalli
6 / 7
Avec son fils, Shokirjon Shamirov entretient avec beaucoup de soin un jardin potager derrière sa maison.
Shokirjon Shamirov and his son tend the so-called kitchen garden in front of their house. © Reto Albertalli
7 / 7
Working with the weather instead of against it: That is the motto of the climate projects in Tajikistan. © Reto Albertalli
1 / 7
Shokirjon Shamirov travaille sur les parcelles tests de Caritas Suisse au Tadjikistan et acquiert ainsi de précieuses connaissances agricoles.
Shokirjon Shamirov works on the test fields of Caritas Switzerland in Tajikistan and gains valuable agricultural knowledge. © Reto Albertalli
2 / 7
Avec son voisin et les deux fils du voisin, Shokirjon Shamirov plante des pommes de terre sur les parcelles tests de Caritas Suisse.
Together with his neighbour and his two sons Shokirjon Shamirov grows potatoes on the test fiels of Caritas Switzerland. © Reto Albertalli
3 / 7
Chez lui, Shokirjon Shamirov cultive un jardin. Grâce à Caritas, il a désormais beaucoup plus de connaissances et peut cultiver une grande variété de légumes, d'herbes et de fruits.
At home, Shokirjon Shamirov has his own garden. Thanks to Caritas, he now has a lot of knowledge and can grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and fruit. © Reto Albertalli
4 / 7
Shokirjon Shamirov avec son fils et sa belle-fille
Shokirjon Shamirov with his son and his daughter in law © Reto Albertalli
5 / 7
Avec les pommes de terre, le pain est l'un des principaux aliments dans les régions rurales du Tadjikistan. Deux fois par semaine, la belle-fille de Shokirjon prépare du pain frais.
Along with potatoes, bread is one of the most important foods of the rural population in Tajikistan. Shokirjon's daughter-in-law bakes fresh bread twice a week. © Reto Albertalli
6 / 7
Avec son fils, Shokirjon Shamirov entretient avec beaucoup de soin un jardin potager derrière sa maison.
Shokirjon Shamirov and his son tend the so-called kitchen garden in front of their house. © Reto Albertalli
7 / 7
Working with the weather instead of against it: That is the motto of the climate projects in Tajikistan. © Reto Albertalli
1 / 7
Shokirjon Shamirov travaille sur les parcelles tests de Caritas Suisse au Tadjikistan et acquiert ainsi de précieuses connaissances agricoles.
Shokirjon Shamirov works on the test fields of Caritas Switzerland in Tajikistan and gains valuable agricultural knowledge. © Reto Albertalli
2 / 7
Avec son voisin et les deux fils du voisin, Shokirjon Shamirov plante des pommes de terre sur les parcelles tests de Caritas Suisse.
Together with his neighbour and his two sons Shokirjon Shamirov grows potatoes on the test fiels of Caritas Switzerland. © Reto Albertalli
3 / 7
Chez lui, Shokirjon Shamirov cultive un jardin. Grâce à Caritas, il a désormais beaucoup plus de connaissances et peut cultiver une grande variété de légumes, d'herbes et de fruits.
At home, Shokirjon Shamirov has his own garden. Thanks to Caritas, he now has a lot of knowledge and can grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and fruit. © Reto Albertalli
4 / 7
Shokirjon Shamirov avec son fils et sa belle-fille
Shokirjon Shamirov with his son and his daughter in law © Reto Albertalli
5 / 7
Avec les pommes de terre, le pain est l'un des principaux aliments dans les régions rurales du Tadjikistan. Deux fois par semaine, la belle-fille de Shokirjon prépare du pain frais.
Along with potatoes, bread is one of the most important foods of the rural population in Tajikistan. Shokirjon's daughter-in-law bakes fresh bread twice a week. © Reto Albertalli
6 / 7
Avec son fils, Shokirjon Shamirov entretient avec beaucoup de soin un jardin potager derrière sa maison.
Shokirjon Shamirov and his son tend the so-called kitchen garden in front of their house. © Reto Albertalli
7 / 7

Thanks to the weather-water-climate service, Shokirjon finds out via SMS when the soil temperature is optimal for sowing, whether he has to reckon with extreme temperatures (heat or frost) or natural hazards, or whether it is the right time for watering. «I can now use the little water that is available more efficiently», the farmer tells proudly.

Finally, chickpeas and mung beans are thriving

The weather data also serves as the basis for all activities on the test fields. Together with the agronomists from Caritas Switzerland, Shokirjon and the 24 other farmers are growing new types of vegetables and legumes on the various plots. Soils can recover through crop rotation and diversification.

As a supplement, a water reservoir with an irrigation system was recently installed near the test plots. The farmers now irrigate a field depending on the soil moisture and the growth stage of the plants, and only when they really need the water. The first results of the system are very promising.

Shokirjon Shamirov in seinem Küchengarten in Shirinob, Tadschikistan
«The project changed our life for the better. Today we know how to harvest more with less water. Also, we are able to successfully grow other crops such as chickpeas, corn and mung beans.»

The entire region benefits from new knowledge

Through our activities in Tajikistan, we support various population groups in adapting to the climate and securing their livelihoods.

In the Rasht Vally, more and more women have been taking part in agriculture since the activities began. In ten women's groups, around 60 women cultivate their own fields and contribute to the household income. Caritas advises them on questions and provides them with helpful knowledge about farming through training courses. The increased involvemet of women in agriculture not only contributes to the better supply situation for families, but also strengthens women in society.

The farmers involved in the projects pass their knowledge on to people throughout the region. A total of over 700'000 people in nine districts are benefiting from the project. In the future, even more people will benefit from the weather data. For example, shepherds can use the information because they sleep under the open sky and are just as exposed to the weather as the farmers.

Shikorjon Shamirov spricht mit unserem Projektmitarbeiter, Bahtiyor Ashurov über den Verlauf der diesjährigen Ernte.

Work with the weather

With various actions we can support people affected by poverty, like Shokirjon Shamirov, in adapting to climate change. Your donation is real help for self-help.

Impact of your donation

Thanks to your support Caritas Switzerland can provide assistance to farming families in Tajkistan.

  • With 60 francs you enable the sale of high-quality seeds
  • With 100 francs you finance agricultural trainings.
  • With 120 francs you support the set up of further weather stations.

Every donation makes a difference, regardless of its amout. Thank you.

Further Information

Header image: Shokirjon Shamirov on a hill in front of his home in Shirinob in Tajikistan. © Reto Albertalli