Uzbek farmer expects progress after using water-saving technology

TASHKENT: With Uzbekistan’s annual cotton harvest underway, Abdullah Begmatov, 54, who has grown cotton for over a decade in the country, is expecting a harvest of up to 4-4.5 tons per hectare after using Chinese technology for drip irrigation.
Chinese technology has shown its advantages in all respects, Begmatov said, adding that the costs are reduced by 40-50 percent compared to the conventional method of cotton growing.
“For example, usually 1,800 kilograms cotton seeds were sown on one hectare of land earlier, and with the new technology, only 800 kilograms of seeds were used. Most importantly, we save water,” he said.
Water is pumped to these cotton plantations. With drip irrigation, less water is required, and less energy is wasted as it needs less pump operation, he added. He showed off his cotton fields, where the cotton picking was in full swing and both farm workers and the specialists of a Chinese company were satisfied with their hard work in this season. Begmatov, who has spent almost all his adult years on the cotton fields of Syrdarya region, more than 150 km from the capital city Tashkent, was confident about his traditional irrigation practice until last year.
But he changed his mind after signing an agreement with the Chinese company Demetra Investment on the use of drip irrigation.
Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree in December 2018 on urgent measures to create favorable conditions to use drip irrigation technology in cotton production across the country. Since then the modern water-saving technology has been applied to cotton fields on many farms in the country, the Central Asian region’s largest cotton producer. “Thanks to the wise policy of the leaders of Uzbekistan and China in recent years, cooperation between the two states has been developing at a dynamic pace in all areas, including the agricultural sector. This gave us the opportunity to establish long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation with Chinese partners,” Begmatov said.
Over the past 10 years, the volume of water resources in Uzbekistan has decreased by 12 percent, and this year by 15 percent compared to 2019, according to official data. Uzbekistan plans to introduce the modern water-saving technology on 200,000 hectares of land annually and increase it up to 2 million hectares in the next 10 years.
This year, the drip irrigation technology was used on 180 hectares of land in Begmatov’s farm.–Agencies