The Aga Khan Foundation has started its activities in Tajikistan in 1992 by rendering assistance in the country's post-conflict rehabilitation. The initial operations of the Aga Khan's Network on Development of Central Asia (AKDN) was focused on the remotest districts of Tajikistan, such as Gorny Badakhshan and the Garm area.
The visit of Prince Aga Khan the Fourth to Tajikistan in September, 1998 clearly showed that the Prince is interested in supporting other regions of the country as well. This article contains a brief look at what has already been implemented by AKDN and its prospects in Tajikistan.
Since its activities' beginning in the country in 1992, AKDN has attracted for its programs more than $110 million using the fund's own resources, funding from Ismailits'(Ismailits are followers of Ismailism, a variety of Muslem Shiism) Imamat (Higher Religious Department), the world's Ismailits community, and AKDN's partners-donors including the Government of Tajikistan. Through the fund's flexible policy and well-known international reputation, AKDN has managed to attract funding which Tajikistan alone would have hardly been able to find.
The Reform of Agriculture
The AKDN Program of agricultural reforms or the Program on Development of Mountainous Communities (PDMC) was started in Gorny Badakhshan at the end of 1993 and it has brought substantial results. The program was aimed at helping the privatization process and lessening the region's dependence upon grain supplies. Backed by the Government of Gorny Badakhshan, the fund concluded an agreement with 1,800 farmers who cultivate almost 10,000 hectares. As a result of AKDN's assistance, farmers in Gorny Badakhshan managed to increase crops of wheat and potatoes by more than 200% and the general output of private farms supported by AKDN exceeded the output of state farms by 300%. This became possible because of land privatization, supplies by AKDN of good quality seeds and mineral fertilizers, and farmers' access to technical assistance provided by AKDN.
Jointly with the Fund of Social Investment of Tajikistan (FSI), PDMC is rendering assistance in construction of more than 200 kilometers of irrigation canals which by the year of 2204 will irrigate 3,877 hectares. In Soviet times the region used to be dependent on imports which satisfied 80% of the region's demand in food. Now it is expected that Gorny Badakhshan will fully provide itself with grain by the end of 1998.
AKDN has expanded the PDMC program of agricultural reform in five districts of the Garm area: Darband, Garm, Tajikabad, Jirgital, and Tavildara. PDMC used the same work principles which were implemented in Gorny Badakhshan by supplying farmers of these five districts with seeds, fertilizers, and providing technical assistance. In Spring 1998, 2,100 farmers sowed 1,500 hectares with wheat, potatoes, and vegetables. Meeting farmers' requests, PDMC considerably expanded areas under cultivation in the first year of the program in 1993 by more than 30%.
Preliminary estimates showed that grain crops increased by a quarter comparing with the last year. Potato crops are likely to increase in three times in comparison with the last year whereas in other parts of the country due to the severe winter wheat crops can decline by 30%.
In the future PDMC is going to purchase quality grain from farmers participating in the program and also is collaborating with Tajikistan's Academy of Science on testing new grain sorts which are more adjusted to the climate conditions of Tajikistan.
To support small businesses in Gorny Badakhshan and the Garm area, the AKDN Fund for Economic Development established the Service for Entrepreneurship Support (SES.) SES allocates loans, provides training, and consultations for individuals who would like to start their own business or to expand the already existing. For less than two years SES helped 600 small businesses and they created more than 1,000 new jobs. This program resulted in an increase of food supplies and services to the remote parts of Gorny Badakhshan and the Karategin Valley. The total amount allocated by the fund to support the small businesses program amounts to USD one million.
AKDN also renders assistance to health care of Gorny Badakhshan and the Garm area. During the typhoid fever epidemics in Dushanbe in the last several years AKDN allocated funds to create health information centers, provide chlorine deliveries, and assist in water treatment.
AKDN supplied to Gorny Badakshan vitamins and microelements and closely works with local medical staff at the reforming of the local health care system.
The pharmaceuticals rationalization program is aimed at registering basic medications which are in demand in the region and at developing a reasonable and flexible price policy for medications. The public monitoring system of food quality is being developed and implemented and local specialists are being taught to plan the system of balanced catering.
The experience nurtured in Gorny Badakhshan will be further used in the health care system of the whole country.
AKDN has been assisting the Government of Tajikistan in construction completion of PAMIR 1 Hydro Power Station in Gorny Badakhshan. AKDN also sponsors the construction of several small hydro power stations and allocates funding for reconstruction of bridges and roads in the remote part of Gorny Badakhshan.
Last year AKDN assisted in the reconstruction of an important bridge over Obi-Hingow river which connected Gorny Badakhshan with other regions of the country. AKDN also provided fuel to accelerate the construction of the road Murgab-Kulma connecting Tajikistan with China and Karakorum highway.
Contact: Hakim Feerasta
6, Hakimzoda Str.
Tel: 7(3772)21 51 18, 24 64 99
Tel/fax: 7(3772)21 70 87
Sat. tel/fax: 7(3772)51 00 66
This report is provided courtesy of the Business Information Service for the Newly Independent States (BISNIS)
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