Promoting climate-adapted agriculture

Around 80 per cent of the Tajik population depend on agriculture and livestock farming for their livelihoods. Their income is often just enough for self-sufficiency. Climate change, lack of knowledge and outdated technologies have so far been obstacles to achieving an increase in income. The project promotes sustainable agriculture and improves the living conditions of poor farming families, particularly women. Courses are designed to provide the beneficiaries with knowledge about sustainability, productivity growth and marketing. Through close cooperation with the partners, it is possible to get better prices for the products and guaranteed sales volumes.


Country / Region
Khatlon, Muminabad, Khovaling and Shamsiddin Shohin districts

Target group
10,000 poor farming families (70,000 people)

Funding requirement
1,434,770 Swiss francs

Project duration
01.09.2017 to 31.08.2020 (3 years)

Project number

Project objective
Improvement of food security and farming income through investment in resource-conserving production, productivity and marketing, strengthening of agricultural organisations and especially of women in agriculture

Project coordinator
Martina Weber, Tel: 041 419 24 56; mwebernot shown@caritasto make life hard for spam bots.ch


Background information

Tajikistan is the poorest country of the former Soviet Union and one of the poorest countries in the world. Of the 8 million Tajiks, approximately 12 per cent live and work partly in Russia. Their money transfers contribute up to 25 per cent to household incomes. Despite this, more than 60 per cent live below the poverty threshold, according to a survey by the World Bank. The FAO Food Price Index shows that Tajikistan has regularly suffered food shortages in the last 20 years. The situation is worst in rural districts.

93 per cent of the topographical area of Tajikistan consists of high mountains. 28 per cent of the land area is used for agricultural production, more than 75 per cent of it as pasture and meadows for hay production. Given the size of the country, the amount of land that is suitable for arable farming is small (just 7 per cent). The dry, sub-tropical climate makes productive crop cultivation more difficult. Added to this is the fact that deforested areas along the valleys and the bordering mountain slopes suffer from erosion. The consequence is regular flooding and the resulting loss of the harvests, which are in any case poor. 

In Tajikistan, 77 per cent of the population live in rural areas. The majority are engaged in subsistence agriculture and livestock farming to provide food for themselves, and generate some additional income by selling the small surpluses. At more than 60 per cent, women make up the majority of agricultural workers. The technology and production methods used in agriculture are outdated. It is also afflicted by diseases and pests, inappropriate seeds, a lack of well-qualified advisory services and has almost no access to the market. In order to increase productivity and improve the economic situation of the rural population, there is a need of further training for the farmers, of well-functioning agricultural organisations, access to the market for production goods, but even more importantly, for the sale of their products. 

All this – the climate, the geographical location, the low level of agricultural education of the rural population and the lack of agricultural organisations – presents a major challenge for a sustainable and profitable production of agricultural food products. While the first two factors (climate and topography) are conditions that cannot be changed, Caritas Switzerland is targeting the rural population in this project. Caritas Switzerland has supported women’s and farmers’ groups in the rural areas for more than 15 years and cooperates closely with the local and regional authorities. The objective of the projects is to reduce the impacts of natural disasters by improving living conditions and food security. 


What are we doing?

The Caritas Switzerland Country Programme for Tajikistan defines the improvement of food security through income-generating measures and the strengthening of local organisations as the top priority in the field of activity of food security. The aim of the present project is to improve the living conditions of the rural population and contribute to the protection of natural resources in the east of the Kathlon region (Muminabad, Khovaling and Shurobad districts).

This is achieved by making the market accessible for the poor rural population and by improving and increasing the quality and volume of basic foodstuffs – such as wheat, potatoes, fruit, vegetables. 

In practice, the project works towards achieving the following results:

  • Improvement of sustainable agricultural production through the provision of further training for the population: Appropriate technologies and methods are conveyed in order to increase productivity. Particular emphasis is placed on modules about sustainable agriculture, horticulture, integrated pest control, as well as guidelines for productivity increases and marketing. Special attention is given to climate-appropriate seeds. 
  • Increasing the value-added to agricultural products: Through close cooperation with local processing enterprises and traders, the households participating in the project can achieve better prices for their products. Assured purchase by the processing enterprises will give the farmers an incentive to increase productivity and improve the quality of their products, so that they meet the requirements of the processing enterprise. This in turn creates demand for quality seeds and knowledge. 
  • Appropriate conditions for a resource-conserving agriculture, and an agriculture in which the majority of workers are women: Activities are tailored to the needs of women and men in order to ensure that women benefit equally from technological innovations and from the project interventions. The foundations for sustainable agriculture are developed jointly with the strategic partners at the local and district level.
  • Strengthening of the agricultural advisory services and community organisations: Current knowledge and innovations are passed on in a participative process to the employees and members of organisations and private and public-sector institutions. These are vital for a resource-conserving agriculture, an increase in productivity and a successful market integration of the agricultural products.

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