Tajikistan is a landlocked and mountainous country prone to earthquakes and landslides and vulnerable to extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change. Agriculture is the most common form of employment but over time irrigation and drainage (I&D) infrastructure has deteriorated, putting heightened pressure on food security and the wider economy.
Key challenges faced by the community include rising water tables and salinity, aging infrastructure which is vulnerable to earthquakes, and inflexible and unreliable irrigation, which locks farmers into rigid (mostly cotton-wheat) cropping with low yields. Farmers and government agencies also lack the capacity to modernise agricultural and irrigation practices.
The Vakhsh River Basin project is the first gender equity themed I&D investment of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Tajikistan. Despite women’s crucial role in agriculture and as primary water users, they do not have equal access to knowledge and inputs for improved agricultural productivity. They also have a limited role in decision-making on water management because of their low representation in water user associations. The project will help to enhance climate resilience, water productivity, and the income of female and male farmers by modernising selected areas of the Yovon I&D system.
The project vision is framed across three key outputs:
- Modernisation of climate and disaster resilient I&D infrastructure.
- Strengthening of climate adaptive management and gender-responsive operation of I&D systems.
- Strengthening of policy for suitable water management.