Skip to main content

Central Asia is the centre of origin and of diversity for many globally significant fruit and nut tree species. Bioversity International has been particularly interested in fruit trees in Central Asia, which contribute not only to income generation, but also to the nutrition of rural people.

Bioversity International and partners are working on the conservation and use of traditional fruit trees in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Over 50 fruit tree nurseries have been established to date, producing more than 1.5 million traditional variety seedlings annually of apple, grape, apricot and other fruit trees. One of these, Malus sieversii, a wild apple species, is considered to be a principal progenitor of domesticated apple and it is red-listed by the IUCN because it is threatened by over-exploitation, livestock grazing and other anthropogenic pressures. 

Furthermore, 300 farmers are trained every year in soil, water and crop management practices. As a result, traditional fruit trees planted on dry, rocky slopes in Kyrgyzstan have managed to visibly restore the local ecosystem and improve productivity. Improved produce, market linkages and the establishment of farmer cooperatives have also helped improve local incomes and livelihoods.

Did you know?

Uzbekistan alone is the home for 83 traditional varieties of apricot, 43 of grape, 40 of apple, 30 of walnut, 21 of pomegranate, 15 of pear, all grown within the farmers’ production systems.

Read the 'Livelihood implications of in situ conservation strategies of wild fruit tree species in Uzbekistan' impact brief to learn more.

Meet the fruit tree custodians of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan


Pamir Biological Institute, Kyrgyz Agrarian University, Research and Production Association 'Bogparvar' (Tajikistan), Garrygala Research and Production Centre on Plant Genetic Resources of Research Institute of Farming (Turkmenistan), the Institute of Genetics and Plant Experimental Biology (Uzbekistan) and others.

Related news:

Coming to the rescue - Payment for Agrobiodiversity Services to safeguard crop varieties in Guatemala

The Alliance-led PACS programme is helping saving resilient traditional crop varieties in Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

Read more

An essential sustainable farming practice faces one big limitation: land to produce seeds

Because of their environmental benefits, cover crops like clover and rye are increasingly popular on U.S. farms. Increasing their use will require...

Read more

African researchers of beans, the superfood of the future, win Al-Sumait Prize

On World Pulses Day, the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) received the prestigious Al-Sumait Prize Award in recognition of its role in bean...

Read more

The 2019 International Cocoa Award winners!

The global competition, held at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, celebrates the diversity of cocoa flavours and recognizes the skills and know-how of...

Read more

Why climate change means a rethink of coffee and cocoa production systems

New research by an international group of scientists, from Inland Norway University, Bioversity International, Wageningen University and the World...

Read more