FAO International Training Webinar on Sustainable Management of Pasture Resources in Kazakhstan

FAO International Training Webinar on Sustainable Management of Pasture Resources in Kazakhstan

The issues of sustainable pasture management in Kazakhstan, including the basics of desert and rangeland animal husbandry and fodder production in arid conditions; intensification of agropastoral farming; introduction of approaches of field schools of animal farmers and many others were discussed during the international training webinar "Sustainable Management of Pasture Resources in Kazakhstan" held on October 2, 2020.

"In Kazakhstan, the issue of sustainable pasture land management is very important," said Marat Uzbayev, head of the Committee on Land Resources Management of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan. "Special concern is caused by degradation of pastures around villages, and we are very glad that FAO pays attention to this problem and works in Kazakhstan in this direction".

Within the framework of the FAO/GEF Regional Project "Integrated natural resources management in drought-prone and salt-affected agricultural production landscapes in Central Asia and Turkey" (CACILM2), the webinar has become an international platform for discussing the issues on conservation and restoration of Kazakhstan's most valuable natural resource - pastures.

"Pastures are a very valuable resource in terms of both biodiversity conservation and mitigation of climate change risks, as well as the welfare of the population," said Makhmud Shaumarov, Regional Coordinator of CACILM-2. Therefore, the FAO and GEF program CACILM-2 considers training, as well as the introduction of effective approaches and agro-technologies for conservation and restoration of pastures in the Central Asian region to be of great importance".   

Pastures account for more than 186 million hectares and 84.1% of all agricultural land in Kazakhstan, which puts the country in fifth place in the world in terms of pasture area. However, for the last hundred years 48 million hectares of land, including pastures, have been degraded in the country.

The problem has two components: around settlements the places for cattle grazing degrade due to excessive load and trampling, and remote pastures are inaccessible due to lack of water sources and infrastructure (roads, bridges, housing, communication facilities, etc.).

To successfully address the issue, it is also necessary to improve the legal and institutional framework for land resources and improve knowledge on sustainable pasture management.

Pasture degradation leads to serious consequences - low livestock productivity and increased rural poverty, which in turn makes villagers more vulnerable to external factors such as climate change. In addition, abandoned remote pastures are overgrown by aggressive weeds with low content and quality of animal nutrients, which has a negative impact on biodiversity.

"Effective pasture management in Kazakhstan is inextricably linked to the development of family farming, which is especially relevant in connection with the UN Decade of Support to Family Farming 2019-2029," said Kairat Nazhmidenov, FAO Representative in Kazakhstan, welcoming the participants to the international webinar. "We also need to understand that by managing pasture resources wisely, we are also contributing to the achievement of sustainable development goals.

The webinar brought together over 80 agricultural specialists from all Central Asian countries, as well as Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Mongolia and Turkey. The training sessions were led by Dr. Aaron Reisman, FAO Senior Livestock and Veterinary Officer; Jürien Dreyer, FAO Consultant for Farmers' Field Schools and Feed Production; Prof. Christina Toderic, FAO Consultant for Salinity and Drought Management; and Almasbek Sadyrbayev, Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Sheep Breeders.


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