Construction of drip-irrigation systems in Artsakh

Ongoing

Construction of drip-irrigation systems in Artsakh

PROJECT TYPE:

Agricultural development

LOCATION:

Throughout Artsakh

DONORS:

Donors worldwide, Telethon 2017 contributors

STARTED:

February 2018

TO BE COMPLETED IN:

September 2020

COST:

$100,000.00 USD per unit (digging, installation, pumping and training)

Project Details

Background:
With proceeds from Telethon 2017, Armenia Fund launched the “Fruitful Artsakh” initiative, a multi-year program that stands to revolutionize Artsakh’s agriculture sector.

Although Artsakh has vast water resources, most of the water is located underground, while bringing water from rivers and other bodies of water in the north to farmlands in the southeast would be so expensive as to be unfeasible. As a result, only 7 percent of the country’s over 250,000 acres of arable land were cultivated as of 2017. Armenia Fund is addressing this critically important issue through “Fruitful Artsakh,” a comprehensive program that aims to develop the country’s agriculture on an unprecedented scale, by digging deep-water wells and building drip-irrigation systems.

Problem:
A whopping 93 percent of Artsakh’s arable lands are uncultivated (as of 2017), due to a pervasive lack of access to water. The problem is twofold. First, Artsakh’s largest rivers and other surface bodies of water are located in the northwestern part of the country, while agricultural lands are found mostly in the southeast. Bringing water from the north to irrigate the southern farmlands would be too cost-prohibitive. The other part of the problem is that while Southern Artsakh has vast water resources, they remain largely inaccessible, as they’re located below ground, at depths of up to 300 feet.

Currently, farmers in Artsakh earn an average of $120 from each acre of land that they cultivate. The reason for such low profit margins is that farmers are limited to growing crops like wheat and rye, relying primarily on rainwater, instead of raising high-profit but irrigation-intensive crops such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

Solution:
The central goals of the “Fruitful Artsakh” program are to bring Artsakh’s wealth of water to the surface, and enable its optimal utilization through the drip-irrigation method. The project entails a comprehensive set of steps. It comprises digging deep-water wells; installing drip-irrigation networks, including filtration systems and underground pipelines; and building power lines and substations to provide electricity to the drip-irrigation networks.

Also as part of the program, beneficiary farmers will be provided with training in the utilization of drip-irrigation systems.

Drip irrigation is a quantum leap in agriculture, as it’s able to turn even barren deserts into lush fields. With the drip-irrigation method, water travels through thin plastic pipes with tiny holes at the bottom. As the water flows through the pipes, it drip-irrigates the ground on which they’re installed. Therefore the water feeds the plant by dripping directly above the root, without being wasted or vaporized.

Impact:
Each deep-water well can provide irrigation for up to 60 acres of land, while drip-irrigation systems will allow Artsakh farmers to diversify their crops — as a result of which they will be able to secure profits of up to $3,000 per acre.

As significantly, the “Fruitful Artsakh” project is expected to have a wide multiplier effect. This will include the establishment of food-processing factories, storage and packing facilities, and export companies, as well as enterprises specializing in sapling and seedling production.

Therefore, in its first five-year phase of implementation alone, “Fruitful Artsakh” is expected to increase crop-raisers’ profits up to twentyfold and create close to 6,000 jobs.

The ultimate objective of the program is to enable the cultivation of over 250,000 acres of land throughout Artsakh, thereby ushering in a high level of economic vitality. This, in turn, will raise living standards to those of industrialized nations, and ensure that the citizens of Artsakh will have a tangible, compelling reason to continue to live and thrive in their communities.

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