Where do apples, grapes, walnuts and apricots come from? These fruits that are so familiar to the West actually originate mostly from Central Asia, a region that spans five resource-rich countries that get little attention from the outside world.
For more than 15 years, Bioversity International has been working in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, focusing on promoting the conservation and use of traditional fruit tree varieties.
Fruit trees are the cornerstone of agriculture in Central Asia. As a centre of origin, there exists a highly diverse gene pool of both domesticated and wild fruit species. Fruit trees here have evolved to withstand drought and survive frost conditions. Many practices have also been specially developed to ensure their continued productivity under harsh conditions.
Bioversity International has established over 50 fruit tree nurseries in the region in collaboration with national partners. These nurseries produce more than 1.5 million seedlings a year of apple, grape, pomegranate, apricot and other fruit crops, acting as a valuable source of planting material for farmers and their communities. Through farmer training and demonstration plots, more than 400 varieties of fruit trees are now being maintained in these countries. We have even had several cases where planting orchards has restored rocky and barren soils in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
Today, we share with you 10 videos that showcase the genetic resources and agricultural biodiversity of this beautiful region. We hope you enjoy them!
You can watch the full Central Asia Fruit Trees playlist here, or view the individual videos though the links below. All videos are in Russian with English subtitles (click the CC icon on the bottom right of the video to activate the subtitles).
10. Apple orchards of Kazakhstan
This work is supported by UNEP–GEF through the project: “In situ/On farm Conservation and Use of Agricultural Biodiversity (Horticultural Crops and Wild Fruit Species) in Central Asia”. Our work in Central Asia contributes to the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.