Next week, the United Nations meets to review progress on five of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Access to water, SDG6, is one of the goals in the spotlight. Following a high-level conference in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, Dr. Soumya Balasubramanya of the International Water Management Institute tells Farming First about the water security challenges facing the Central Asian country, and how women can be key to solving them.
Nestled in the heart of Central Asia, the agricultural sector plays a central role in the economic and cultural life of Tajikistan. But after gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the country’s farming industry has struggled to modernize itself and tackle water stress and irrigation maintenance challenges. Through focusing on the growing role of women, the country can revitalize the sector.
Around 70 percent of Tajik citizens live in rural areas, and agriculture accounts for 60 percent of the country’s GDP. A massive 95 percent of farm production takes place on irrigated land, which means that healthy water irrigation systems are essential for keeping the sector running.