Aid for Trade
Wider Europe: Aid for Trade for Central Asia,South Caucasus and Western CIS
“My children have a bright future ...”
24-Sep-2012, by Daniele Gelz, UNDP, via web
Mr. Ravshan Umarov and his melons
Mr. Ravshan Umarov – farmer, Salohiddin Ota dehkan farm, Spitamen District:
My young years fell onto a difficult period during the civil war in Tajikistan. Although we did not suffer any military interventions during the 90s, we still witnessed the war through food shortages, problems with health and education and everyday life. I had to earn a living from a very young age. But I have never forgotten about education. Upon graduation from the 8th grade, I entered a vocational school where I learned how to be a tractor operator and driver. For a long time my occupation helped me to save my family from starvation. But when I got married and my children were born, income from driving was not enough to give an education to my children.
It was always my dream that my children will have a good education that I was not able to get myself. But it required money. Money could only be generated from a business. I had a lot of ideas but could not realize them without a start-up capital and some knowledge.
Once, last year, I drove one of my clients to a remote village of Farmonkurgan in Spitamen District. Passing through the neglected farmland and full-flowing water canals, I wondered why this land was not cultivated... Finally we arrived to the village. Local people, as I have learned later, could barely make both ends meet, too. Their only income came from small kitchen gardens. And I thought: “Why doesn’t someone sow something on that neglected land? The demand for agricultural goods in Tajikistan is growing day by day.”
When I talked to local people I understood that there are people in Farmonkurgan who were capable to cultivate the land. And, what’s more important, there is land and water. I came back to town with a new idea – to establish a dehkan farm in the district where a lot of unoccupied land is still available.
Agroinform TJ newspaper was a great deal of help for me in my undertaking. Through it, I found specialists who consulted me on how to start the farm properly. They also provided me with other consultations and assisted me in obtaining a loan. Local authorities also perceived my initiative positively, and facilitated the registration of my business...
Finally, at the beginning of 2012, we sowed cotton, vegetables, melons and gourds on our land. Early harvest of cucumbers and other vegetables compensated all our expenses. Now we are finishing harvesting melons and water-melons. Cars come every day and take harvested melons directly from the field to transport them to Dushanbe and Khujand markets. We found buyers with the help of Agricultural Information Marketing System that was established with support of the “Aid for Trade” project. I use the services provided by this system on daily basis. It helps me to not only to do science-based farming but also make profit from selling my goods.
I jointly with my colleagues have assessed land condition, and came up with the conclusion that this year we will have good profit mainly owing to melons and gourds that initially were imported. My dream about life with dignity and providing an education to my children is coming true.
... Every day I surf the Internet. My favourite web-page is www.agroinform.tj and I regularly buy Agroinform TJ newspaper. Now I don’t have to travel hundred kilometers to get advice and recommendations. Owing to UNDP, I can get answers to all my questions fast, through the Internet and mobile communication.
With thanks to Mr Parviz Akramov (National AfT project coordinator) for collecting this testimonial from Mr. Ravshan Umarov
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This story is also now featured on UNDP's Europe and CIS blog: http://europeandcis.undp.org/blog/2012/02/07/the-man-who-planted-trees-kyrgyz-version/
Daniele Gelz, 2012-02-07 13:01
Akvo Ref: 305