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Innovation is an important step towards the development of agriculture in Uzbekistan

All areas are developing and improving on the basis of new technologies, scientific and technical achievements and innovations – actions related to making money, increasing the level of well-being of the people, saving time, reducing the cost and popularization of products. The implementation of innovations in agriculture is especially relevant, as it is aimed at increasing the income received from each square meter of land and reducing the cost of grown products.

New knowledge, tools and technologies

As in other areas, scientific research conducted in the agricultural sector is yielding positive results all over the world. The effectiveness of innovative achievements is especially evident in the practice of developed countries. In particular, the USA, China, Australia, the Netherlands and other countries are leading in this direction.

What new developments and innovative ideas are being used and in which industries?

The development of these processes can be explained by the increasing automation of processes from seed sorting and soil preparation to harvesting and processing.

Overcome serious challenges associated with climate change, water scarcity, soil degradation, food security and food quality, be able to benefit from new markets that add value to agricultural and food systems, increase household incomes, improve knowledge, create new tools and technologies that required by farmers and industry, all this can be achieved through research and innovation.

In agriculture, this is the creation and introduction of high-yielding, climate-appropriate, disease-resistant new varieties, seeds, and breeds, which is closely related to the development of intelligence and scientific research, the scientific potential of scientists and specialists in the field.

There are 21 research institutes and their 51 research stations operating in the system of the Ministry of Agriculture. 790 of the 3,032 employees working there are engaged in direct scientific work, 451 have an academic degree. The level of scientific potential is 43.3 percent.

During 2019-2023, 100 scientific projects with a total value of 124.3 billion soums were financed within the framework of state scientific programs. Currently, research institutes within the framework of government programs are conducting research on 81 projects worth 42.3 billion soums. During 2019-2022, 22 startup projects worth 15.1 billion soums were financed, recognized as promising in the field of agriculture, which also helps to encourage aspirations and a thirst for knowledge.

In 2023, scientists in the agricultural sector presented six new developments in the field of horticulture and viticulture, and eight in grains and legumes. This indicator in the field of agriculture and improving soil fertility amounted to 15 developments, in the fields of cotton growing, vegetable growing and grain growing – 20. 12 varieties of cotton were developed, 93 – grains, 12 – vegetable crops. Two varieties of rice are zoned.

Seeds of 11 new varieties of cotton, bred by local scientists, were exported to foreign cotton-growing countries, in particular Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. In Myanmar, based on beneficial cooperation, eight varieties of Uzbek cotton are being tested.

In grain growing, a method of operational selection based on the “Speed ​​Breeding” program has been introduced, and the basis has been laid for obtaining a crossed breed three to four times a year. An early ripening variety of “ultra” wheat was sown; in the conditions of the Andijan region, the harvest was harvested on May 25. The yield was 85 centners per hectare. A technology has also been developed for re-seeding cotton in fields freed from grain; the harvest was harvested in the third ten days of October, the yield per hectare was increased to an average of 28.5 centners.

Work has been done to increase plant resistance to diseases and to adapt them to local climatic conditions and soil conditions. Wheat varieties “Khisorak”, “Bunyodkor”, “Turon”, “Yuksalish”, resistant to rust disease, were developed in the laboratory and introduced into production. For the first time in grain farming, research has been carried out on the genetic certification of wheat based on DNA markers and protein types, and a technology has been developed for sowing on rain-fed areas without tillage in a crop rotation system for sowing cereals and legumes.

In order to adapt varieties grown abroad to the conditions of Uzbekistan, 521 samples of cereals were imported from the International Rice Institute (IRRI), including 100 salt-tolerant, 199 drought-resistant, 193 early-ripening. Their testing and introduction have been established. Based on foreign experience, for the first time in the republic, the foundation of a technology for obtaining two rice harvests has been laid. In the first season, a yield of 65 centners per hectare was achieved, with re-sowing – 55 centners per hectare.

In 2018-2022, 24 young scientists in the field of agriculture were sent for short-term internships to leading scientific institutions in the USA, Germany, UAE, South Korea, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Hungary, and Belarus.

Cooperation has been established in trade, advanced training, and other areas with large companies in the field of seed production and scientific organizations in China, India, Japan, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Uzbekistan has joined the International Seed Federation (ISF). A national logo for agricultural seeds “Uzbek Seeds” has been developed, registered with the Intellectual Property Agency.

Promising varieties of Uzbek scientists

According to the analysis of the Global Innovation Index, innovative development of any sphere can be ensured by the introduction of digital technologies and the development of high-precision solutions based on in-depth scientific research.

As a result of deep molecular studies of the cotton genome by Uzbek scientists, the necessary genes and chromosomal loci were identified, and a number of important genes were also found and cloned. Thanks to the work on mapping the uneven combination of traits, a number of important loci of quantitative traits have been identified, and it has become possible to use them in breeding programs based on modern markers.

For the first time in Uzbekistan, using RNA interference, new high-yielding, early-ripening cotton varieties of the biotechnological “porlock” series with improved fiber quality were developed, which are grown on large plantations in almost all regions of our country.

By applying this particular technology, varieties of cotton “Bardosh”, wheat “Barkamol” and potatoes “Biser” were obtained. They successfully passed the first tests on farms. A gene has been identified in cotton that simultaneously responds to stress associated with drought, salinity and cold. New lines of local varieties were sown in the Muynak region of Karakalpakstan and were successfully tested in a region that is problematic for cotton cultivation. Innovative lines are presented to the Variety Testing Center.

A number of cotton varieties have been obtained by transferring chromosome quantitative sign loci from wild cotton lines to local varieties using molecular markers. This is superior to traditional selection methods, as it requires less time and expense, and allows you to observe a new positive sign in each generation.

Good results are obtained from obtaining new virus-resistant agricultural plants using the “in vitro” method. Propagation of grapes, pomegranates, strawberries, ornamental flowers and a number of agricultural plants has been established. A significant feature is that they repeat disease resistance and signs of high-yielding maternal forms in subsequent generations.

Grape varieties grown by this method led to the emergence of large vineyards in the Navoi and Surkhandarya regions. Farmers engaged in gardening receive a large income from this.

Based on current requirements related to global climate change and the need to ensure food security, the number of scientifically based modern agricultural technologies – resource-saving, drought-resistant and salt-resistant – is insufficient.

Every year, 10-15 percent of the harvest is lost under the influence of global climate change, abnormal heat, dry winds, and lack of moisture. Over the past 30 years, the amount of humus in the soil has decreased by 10 percent, resulting in salinity levels of 30 percent.

It is necessary to establish and expand primary seed production of early-ripening, weather-resistant and high-quality cotton varieties

“S-7306”, “S-8290”, “S-8292”, “S-8295”, “Ravnak-1”, “Ravnak-2”, “UzFA-710”. As a result, through the use of water-saving technologies and green manure plants, the composition of the soil will improve, and water consumption will be reduced by up to 30 percent. The yield will be increased from 31.5 to 40 centners on average per hectare, and an additional 400 thousand tons of crop will be obtained.

To successfully solve climate change problems in agriculture, it is necessary to introduce modern biotechnologies and new trends related to genomics. In particular, it is important to clearly edit the genome (CRISPR-Cas9), introduce “speed breeding”, develop breeding technologies based on genomic selection and markers, as well as synthetic biology.

This will make it possible to create plant varieties that are resistant to pests, diseases and unfavorable environmental conditions. It is necessary to introduce predictive modeling, machine reading, and artificial intelligence. This will help predict the most promising combinations of genetic traits based on genomic information. Reducing the time required to create new varieties, optimizing water use, and reducing soil degradation will also be achieved.

According to the instruction on the need to obtain more than one hundred centners of grain per hectare, for the effective use of the republic’s irrigated land areas and for the use of resource-saving technologies, it is recommended to sow newly created and very early ripening varieties “ultra”, “flash”, “asr chilgisi”, “yogdu”, “ hamkor.”

The growing season of these varieties is 195-205 days; they ripen 25-30 days earlier than the existing ones. By reducing the irrigation regime by one or two times, 750-1,500 cubic meters of water per hectare will be saved. As a result of saving fertilizers used to control weeds, diseases and pests, cost savings of up to 700-800 thousand soums per hectare will be achieved. Due to the fact that in the conditions of global climate change, crops ripen before the onset of extremely hot weather, the harvest will be 15-20 centners more, and the quality indicators of grain will improve by 10-15 percent.

Another important aspect. From year to year, soil fertility deteriorates, which affects the yield and quality of products. It is necessary to establish a procedure in which the “cotton-grain-clover” crop rotation is used annually on 10-15 percent of the sown areas; also, based on an in-depth analysis of the soil composition, an optimal NPK system should be introduced in each field. As a result, by improving the physical properties of the soil, the need for mineral fertilizers will be reduced and water resources will be saved. Savings of 33-35 thousand tons of seeds will be achieved annually, the cost of grain will decrease, and there will be an opportunity to increase yields by 8-10 percent.

A new approach to the garden plot

Currently, 65-70 percent of agricultural products are grown on dekhkan farms and on household plots; the organization of new effective technologies and developments related to agriculture at the level of mahallas, families and household plots has not been established. This does not make it possible to expand and promote the scientific developments created by scientists.

At the same time, it is advisable, first of all, to expand the scale of experimental work and research, to strengthen their reliability and propaganda by conducting research on agriculture in mahallas, households and subsidiary plots.

The subsidiary farms of 5.5 million residents have 509 thousand hectares of cultivated land. Household plots of the population and dekhkan farms account for 70-75 percent of potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and melons, 65 percent of onions, 40 percent of carrots. Barriers to obtaining high income from available land are the small volume of growing products on personal plots and the lack of knowledge among their owners on production.

The average plot area of ​​one family is 9-10 acres, the average income from these lands is approximately 4 million soums. A scientific approach and an increase in the cultivation of profitable plants and livestock products on private plots and in households will help increase income to 70-80 million soums.

In order to grow new fertile varieties of fruits and vegetables, melons, medicinal and fodder plants bred by our scientists on personal plots and obtain several harvests per year, it is possible to install vertical greenhouses and small hydroponic structures. Based on existing conditions, you can breed domestic animals and birds, fish and bees.

On ten acres you can place several projects: in the direction of agriculture, four projects to plant cherries, pomegranates, lemons using row spacing twice, in a greenhouse with shelving on one hundred square meters to grow strawberries or greens. Also maintain two heads of dairy cattle, 50 chickens, two hives of bees. Due to this, you can receive up to 90 million soums of income.

For an effective organization, it is important to establish the application of innovations developed by scientific institutions on personal plots. At the same time, groups from scientific institutions are formed, and they are allocated funds from practically innovative grants. As part of such projects, scientists conduct scientific research in their own areas on residential areas and household plots of the population. To do this, they provide families with seeds and seedlings of profitable

new varieties of plants, take control of animals and poultry that are being cared for, or offer other, more productive species.

Researchers provide methodological assistance to owners of personal plots in matters of agricultural technologies, disease control, feeding and care, and conduct experimental studies. If necessary, provide site owners with, for example, pesticides, microfertilizers, biostimulants, vitamins, medicines, vaccines, and control their use.

Greenhouse owners are involved in the process as technical workers and laboratory assistants. A salary is assigned for completing certain tasks. They also develop new skills.

Organizing work in this order is also beneficial for scientists. They create conditions for conducting scientific research on a plot of land, on animals and poultry, testing new varieties and breeds, studying and comparing in different conditions, reducing the cost of conducting experiments, effectively conducting observations and agrotechnical activities together with the owners of their personal plots.

As a result, the practice of writing substantiated scientific articles, propagating new varieties and breeds with the participation of the population, and introducing developments directly into mahallas will be established. Income remains with the owners of houses and household plots, material interest is growing and, most importantly, a new generation of owners of profitable household plots will be formed in each house.

Digitalization of the industry is a requirement of the time

In the innovative development of the industry, along with science, the introduction of digital technologies is also important. Currently, 12 information systems have been implemented in the ministry, 14 in the field of veterinary medicine, 4 in the field of quarantine and 4 in the activities of agricultural inspection. More than 100 complex processes have been fully digitalized, such as allocating land, planning crops, financing the cultivation of products, registering equipment, issuing export and import certificates, and issuing 45 types of subsidies.

Thanks to this, cases of requiring documents from citizens, bureaucratic and corruption factors are eliminated, and red tape is eliminated. The provision of more than 60 agricultural services via the Internet in electronic form has been established. For example, in the Agroplatforma system, the process of drawing up contracts was reduced from two days to 20 minutes, and issuing a loan from 15 days to three. In the “E-IJARA” system, documents are processed electronically, and it is possible to allocate land area within 20 days. Previously, the procedure took six to nine months.

New digital technologies are also being introduced into the industry. The International Cotton Advisory Committee has developed an agricultural technology for growing cotton “ICAC Cotton Expert” and a version of the program that controls the healthy growth of soil and plants in the Uzbek language. Control over plants during the growing season has been established, and high yields can be achieved.

The ICAC Cotton Expert mobile app, a digital platform, provides cotton farmers with timely suggestions, recommendations and information on best practices based on weather conditions and soil parameters. The program can be downloaded for free from the AppStore and Play Market.

Next priority tasks

In the agricultural sector, in order to integrate science into production, it is planned to organize the Academy of Agricultural Sciences. This will create the basis for the development of science, fundamental research, and the application of the principle of mentoring. The desire of young people for research work will be supported.

Accelerating scientific research, bringing it to a new level and digitalization of the sphere will be considered as the main direction of innovative development.

More than 50 agricultural services in the sector will be integrated into the Unified Portal of Interactive Government Services. Using the example of the Kumkurgan region, a model for using information systems in the areas of agriculture, veterinary medicine, quarantine, and agricultural inspection will be developed.

In 2024, work will be accelerated to save costs for farmers and clusters through the transfer of sown areas to specific addresses, as well as to reduce costs and increase yields through the use of “smart” farming and the development of “smart” greenhouses.

Innovations and digital platforms used in agriculture make a significant contribution to improving the country’s well-being and further economic development. One of the main challenges is to apply a scientific approach to the field and continue to innovate.

In addition, on the basis of public-private partnership, a total of 5.5 thousand kilometers of roads with cement concrete pavement will be built, running from regional centers to rural settlements, new highways along the routes Tashkent – Samarkand and Tashkent – Fergana Valley. Cities and regions will be fully covered by public transport, the number of new buses is planned to increase to five thousand, and electric buses to two thousand. New high-speed railways will be built in the directions Tashkent – Samarkand, Samarkand – Navoi – Bukhara. The number of passenger transportation on high-speed trains will increase by 2.5 times. It is planned to modernize low-profit regional airports on the basis of public-private partnerships and transfer them to trust management.

Today, in order to reach foreign ports, it is important for the region to develop new coordinated solutions to expand the transport and transit capabilities of Central Asia.