Since March 2021, CAG together with a local organization El-Too is implementing a project to introduce permaculture initiatives among 60 rural women of 5 villages in Kyrgyzstan. The goal of the project is promoting the womens’ role in land management, building sustainable livelihoods, facilitating gender equality and creating food sovereignty through permaculture kitchen gardens in semi-desert areas that suffer from land degradation. This is the second blog post about the project (you can find the first blog post here).

Taking into account the level of knowledge of farmers and geographic conditions described by the lack of water and precipitation, we have planned 4 successive practical training on permaculture on the following topics.

In April, the project conducted the first round of practical training and developing permaculture demonstration sites at each village. During the first training, women learnt how to create mulching or several organic layers on the land that would effectively retain water that is crucial for semi-desert areas. Next, as the season is short here, women learnt how to build a greenhouse to germinate seeds and compost all organic waste they have at home.

1) Preparation of soil, mulching and greenhouse building for seeds germination
2) Planting of seedlings, garden designing, composting, production of biohumus and growing Californian worms
3) Water saving techniques: charcoal, drip irrigation, raised beds and rainwater collection
4) Biotechnical treatment – treatment through “useful insects”

The beginning of May we moved the germinated seedlings from the greenhouses to the ground. All the seeds we have planted came out except for aubergines, artichoke and rheum. We have designed our demonstration sites according to permaculture principles based on consultation with Peter and Linnea, Swedish permaculture experts. We have planted several types of greens and salads close to the house, as we use them basically in every meal, and they should be more accessible compared to other plants we rarely use or ripen late. Next, we used the principle of “good neighbor” plants. We planted nitrogen fixing beans next to fruit trees that were planted new and were not growing so well. Our participants received a list of good neighbor plants. We recommended planting linen next to potato fields, as it chases the Colorado beetle – that is problematic in the region – away from potatoes. Pumpkins or other vertical growing plants were planted close to the fence, so they do not take much space and can grow along the fence.

Women-led permaculture initiatives in semi-desert villages of Kyrgyzstan – part 2 (From seeds to harvest)
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