Tajikistan is the first country in Central Asia working with the Better Cotton Initiative. It is an important region for the Fund as cotton industry supports over half the rural population in the country. Farmers here face a variety of challenges, such as excessive use of pesticides and water shortages, along with air, soil and groundwater pollution.
The first harvest of Better Cotton in Tajikistan was carried out in 2013 by 360 farmers. In 2014, Sarob Consumer Cooperative (Sarob) became BCI’s Implementing Partner, and since then, it has reached out to hundreds of farmers and is helping them grow Better Cotton.
The Fund has a strong focus on water stewardship and efficiency as part of the farm management work in Tajikistan. The methodology is based on using water measurement devices, which are easily constructed and are low-cost. Since 2016, Sarob has been working with The Water Productivity Project (WAPRO), a multistakeholder initiative to address water efficiency issues in rice and cotton production in Asia.