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EBRD and EU help Kyrgyz farms become greener and more sustainable

By Altynai Nanaeva

Blossoming trees, green landscapes and warm weather … spring is a nice time to visit the Kyrgyz Republic. For Melis Aitpaev from Eshperov village, it is also time to start preparatory work on his farm. Eshperov village is located close to the mountains and Issyk-Kul Lake. The village is home to more than 700 households and people live mostly from farming and raising cattle. Its unique landscape also makes Eshperov village an ideal place for camping and eco-tourism.

“My wife and I are chemistry teachers by profession, but I have always dreamt of having a farm,” Melis says. “Our children have grown up quickly. We are a big family, with 15 grandchildren. Several years ago, we decided to sell our flat in Bishkek and buy a nice place at the foot of the mountain. It was an empty plot of land, but I had a firm feeling we had chosen the right place for our farm. Today, we are breeding sheep, cows and horses. We also own a 4-hectare fruit orchard with 1,000 apricot and apple trees and host tourists in the summertime.”    

Green and sustainable farm management

The management of the farm requires constant hard work, dedication and accurate accounting. Having considered all of the expenses and the environmental impact involved, Melis decided to install a biogas plant. However, he needed assistance and advice on the construction and use of the equipment. Consequently, he decided to approach the EBRD.

Melis benefitted from support from the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses and the European Union. The EBRD paired him with an expert consultant who developed a concept for his manure management and advised him on technology for producing bio fertilisers. The expert also instructed Melis and his staff on the construction and proper use of the biogas plant.

With this help, Melis installed a 40 cubic meter biogas plant. He has managed to reduce his energy consumption by 80 per cent. The use of biogas has also allowed him to increase his harvest by 30 per cent. Since completing the project, the biogas unit has produced more than 7,000 cubic meters of methane gas used in his household and farm.

“Today, we don’t use chemical fertilisers and we use only natural fertilisers left over from our biogas plant,” Melis says. “Now the biogas plant covers all our household needs: heating, cooking for the family and tourists in summertime, and heating for our house and cattle stables during the cold season. In the near future, we are planning to construct greenhouses to offer seasonal fresh vegetables and greens. Happily, our biogas plant will allow us to maintain the necessary temperature in our greenhouses.” 

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