Thursday, January 16, 2014

Case Study : Managing Soil Salinity in the Lower Reaches of the Amudarya Delta: How to Break the Vicious Circle

Akmal Akramkhanov, Mirzakhayot Ibrakhimov, John P. A. Lamers (2010). Case Study #8-7, "Managing Soil Salinity in the Lower Reaches of the Amudarya Delta: How to Break the Vicious Circle".  See

Soil salinity is one of the critical factors responsible for the ongoing land degradation in the irrigated lowlands of Central Asia, including in the lower reaches of the Amudarya Delta. This land degradation hinders sustainable development and presents a major challenge for the area's rural population, whose livelihood security depends on irrigated agriculture. The factors causing soil salinity are multifaceted and interlinked; recent studies and interventions confirm that no one action alone will deliver a sustainable solution.

Recommendations for alleviating soil salinity should take into account the complex interactions and can be formulated only once the interlinked factors causing soil salinity are understood. In the past, little attention was paid to creeping land degradation, which has resulted from soil salinisation and waterlogging across huge agricultural and even non-agricultural areas.

This case study focuses on the vicious circle of soil salinisation: agriculture's consumption of large amounts of water contributes to shallow groundwater, leading to recurring soil salinity, which in turn demands more water for leaching (flushing the salts out of the rooting zone). The situation is exacerbated when water is not available in sufficient amounts in time and in space. The seemingly stable present water flows in the major water source (the Amudarya River) since the major drought in 2000–01 is being caused by increased (ED: unsustainable) glacier melt in the upstream countries. This water supply in turn diverts attention from the strong need for improved irrigation and cropping practices. Efforts aimed at reducing the amounts of irrigation water use face the problem of the "devilish" vicious circle, which has not only technical but also financial and political dimensions.

Follow Link to read full article in "Food Policy for Developing Countries: Case Studies." 2010 
Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Fuzhi Cheng (editors) Click  Link to article 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Karakalpakstan Blog has reached 100,000 hits - Bolshoe spasibo

Note from the Editor: Karakalpakstan Blog today reached 100,000 hits.  I would like to very much thank all the past and present readers of my posts for your continued support over the last four and a half years. All the best Vance Painter

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Uloq-kopkari - "Dzhigit" - Skilled Horseman of Central Asia

The spectacular equestrian sport of "Uloq-kopkari" is a tradition all over Central Asian. Also known as “kupkari” or “uloq” are equally close to all the Turkic  speaking nations of the region ; Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Karakalpaks, Kyrgyz, and Turkmen. Also  popular with Tajik and Dari speakers of Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan where it is known as buzkashi. The word “kupkari” in Uzbek literally means the “business of many people”  

Photos: Uloq-kopkari
The object of kopkari is for
a single horseman to grab
the "ulog" (usually the carcass 
of a goat or  sheep filled with
salt) while riding a horse at full
gallop and then get it clear of
the other players and pitch it
across a goal line or into a
target circle or vat.

To start the kopkari competition the referee throws the "ulog" into the middle of the pitch. 
It can weigh up to 40 kilos and all the opponent horsemen will do all they can to capture the "ulog" and try and score themselves. The common tactic is for the horseman to pick up the "ulog" (carcass) and press it using his leg to his saddle. He then tries to race through his rivals on the pitch without them stealing it away and take it to the appointed spot.

Huge clutters of horsemen fighting to grab the "ulog" can occur during the game. Sometimes it is very hard to tell what is going on in all the clutter. As a rule the bearer of the "ulog" is surrounded by his fellow team members to protect and assist him from the opposition competitors until he carries the "ulog", clear the way from the clutter and races to the finish line.

Competitors have to be very tough, since it is very hard to tell what is going on in the clutter, occasional punches in the arm or slash from whips are used to assist in grabbing (stealing the "ulog" from an opponent). Generally only the most nimble dzhigit (skilled horseman) using a strong and swift-footed horse who has good allies has a chance of scoring. Kopkari Horsemen have handed down the secrets of correct feeding and training of their horses across the generations.

The season for kopkari usually starts in spring usually tied to the Navrus holiday or other popular local festivals such as the end of the harvest or weddings. Months or weeks before "ulog" game callers go around in crowded places or bazars of the villages in the region and announce the competition holder, the day, the place, the reason, and the prizes for the "Uloq" competition. Horsemen generally compete in groups and divide the prize among each other. In Karakalpakstan the prizes typically are a carpet, a traditional overcoat and some amount of money.

Sources: and Uzbekistan today

Photos: Source