How Land Rights are Helping Tajikistan’s Apricot Farmers Reap the Fruits of their Labor
Originally appeared on Medium.
In the sweltering mid-June heat, a group of farmers in Tajikistan’s Khatlon province gathered to attend a training on land rights and farming techniques for one of the region’s most promising cash crops: apricots.
Tajikistan was once known for its wide variety of sweet apricots and served as a primary producer of the fruit in the region. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of civil war in the 1990s devastated Tajikistan’s regional export fruit market. Farmers chopped down the trees for firewood and replaced the orchards with cotton fields. At the time, cotton was the nation’s most viable commercial crop due to a Soviet-era legacy that mandated cotton production on collective farms. After 1999, production began to recover, and since then, the Government of Tajikistan has made efforts to diversify agricultural production, including allocating more land for orchards.
Read the full photo essay on Medium.