Written August 2012
Kyrgyz farmer Estebes Beisheev in his healthy soybean field.
“Thanks to the KAED project, I increased my income this year by 30 percent,” said Estebes Beisheev, a successful soybean farmer. Estebes owns 30 hectares (ha) of land in Issyk-Ata and Kemin rayons (towns) near the oblast (city) of Chui in Kyrgyzstan. In 2010 he began to participate in an IFDC project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which promoted soybean production.
The Kyrgyz Agro-Input Enterprise Development (KAED) project supports the domestic production of high-quality feed for livestock and poultry. Soybeans are a valuable protein source and high-quality protein feed is the easiest and most effective way to improve yields of dairy cows and laying chickens. Most soybean meal and other protein-based animal feeds have been imported from Kazakhstan at a high cost to Kyrgyz farmers.
In 2010 KAED established technology transfer centers (TTCs), demonstration farms and entered into public-private partnerships (PPPs) with the TES Center (a Kyrgyz non-governmental organization specializing in rural advisory services), soy processors and poultry producers to facilitate linkages between farmers and soybean processors. Farmers were provided with soybean seeds, inoculants, herbicides and 100 liters of diesel fuel per ha on credit until harvest. The project organized numerous farmer trainings on using new varieties of soybeans, high-quality agro-inputs and improved cultivation and harvesting techniques.
Over the past two years, the KAED project has demonstrated that soybeans grow well in both northern and southern Kyrgyzstan. Due to increasing demand for high-quality soybean meal, processors have encouraged farmers to plant more soybeans. In 2011, high-quality, domestically produced soybean meal was available for animal feed for the first time in Kyrgyzstan. A total of 111,157 kilograms (kg) of soybeans – 63,800 kg from the south, 47,357 kg from the north – were produced. Eight metric tons (mt) of high-quality, protein-based poultry feed are now being produced monthly and sold to poultry farmers in Kyrgyzstan. Farmers are expected to plant an additional 500 ha of soybeans throughout the country for the 2013 harvest season.
“I appreciate KAED’s initiative in promoting soybean cultivation. Last year I harvested 1.7 metric tons of soybeans per hectare. During the next harvesting season, I have high hopes to increase my yield to more than 2.0 metric tons per hectare. I’ve learned new cultivation techniques and I want to share my knowledge with my neighbors and other farmers,” Estebes said. In 2013 he plans to expand his soybean acreage. “I believe soybean production will bring tremendous benefit to many Kyrgyz farmers and help them improve their financial circumstances.”