Fruit-and-berry festival helps expand Kyrgyz farmers’ production, export potential

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The fourth annual fruit-and-berry festival “Karagat Fest” was held in Teploklyuchenka village of Ak-Suu district of Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk-Kul region on August 6. The event has been held for the fourth consecutive year as part of the Karagat Plus Program implemented by AVEP Non-Governmental Foundation with the financial support of Kumtor Gold Company. The Company’s contribution to the program implementation and development of greenhouse facilities during the four years has amounted to KGS 67 million.

This year the Fest was attended by the Kyrgyz Government’s Special Representative in Issyk-Kul region, akim of Ak-Suu district, farmers’ associations, companies and societies carrying out their activities in Issyk-Kul region, representatives of Kumtor Company, as well as about 3,000 participants from 30 villages of the region.

Traditionally, the Fest is held in August, when the locals get the crop of fruits and berries. The event brings together guests from all over the region and neighboring regions. The goal of the Fest is to popularize and promote fruits and berries grown in Issyk-Kul region in the domestic and foreign markets.

Participants of the Fest prepared the festive parade of berries, arranged a fruit-and-berry fair, master classes, where attendees could learn how to improve the fruit-and-berry production practices, how to export the products, how to erect a greenhouse and how to install and use a drip irrigation system. Guests have had an opportunity to taste and purchase different varieties of fruits and berries.

“The concept of Karagat Plus Program is to teach the farmers to apply new techniques and practices. The Program introduces innovative methods of crop production, teaches the farmers to use new methods and approaches in agriculture, spreads frost-resistant and high-yielding seedlings, erects greenhouses and storage rooms, introduces drip irrigation. For example, about five thousand farmers have been trained to apply new watering methods using drip irrigation. People appreciated its importance and it has become very popular in the region, where certain problems with irrigation water exist. Thousands of farmers have learnt to grow crops in the greenhouses. Greenhouse facilities have been built at the premises of four vocational schools and seven social institutions of Issyk-Kul Region. Now their students and fosterlings can continue their education on greenhouse management and apply their knowledge in the future. We have achieved good results over these years, and the company is not going to rest on its laurels, but will continue contributing to the agriculture development,” said Rodney Stuparyk, Kumtor Gold Company’s Vice President, Risk Management, Compliance and Sustainable Development.

Karagat Plus is a four-year program implemented by AVEP Foundation with the financial support of Kumtor Company. Activities of Karagat Plus are directed at the development of local communities and expansion of fruit-and-berry market potential. The Project pays particular attention to the training of farmers, so that they could establish marketing channels and increase their income from the sales of grown berries.

Sergey Kwan

TCA