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Agricultural Knowledge and Knowledge Systems in Post-Soviet Societies

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Edited By Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Anastasiya Shtaltovna and Conrad Schetter

This volume addresses the crucial role of knowledge and innovation in coping with and adapting to socio-economic and political transformation processes in post-Soviet societies. Unique are the bottom up or micro-sociological and ethnographic perspectives offered by the book on the processes of post-Soviet transformations in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. Three thematic fields form the structuring frame: cultures of knowledge production and sharing in agriculture; local governance arrangements and knowledge production; and finally, the present situation of agricultural advisory services development.
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Scientific Knowledge of Dryland Pastoral System Development in Uzbekistan

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Introduction

Natural rangelands of Uzbekistan occupy 23 million ha – nearly half of its geographic territory – and supply over 30% of the country’s meat output, 60% of its wool, and food and shelter for more than 2 million rural people. Over 40% of dryland pastures in Uzbekistan are currently being degraded and have reached different levels of degradation (Ahmedov et al., 2009; Makhmudov, 2011). These areas are characterized by 25%–30% lower productivity, by livestock mismanagement and overgrazing, by soil erosion and desertification, by water salinity, and by obsolete infrastructure (Ahmedov et al., 2009).

In this contribution we like to show that intensive use of scientific knowledge and setting up an effective institutional structure were key factors to use pastures productively in the former Soviet Uzbekistan. However, the pastures declined by 40% during the past few decades of transition reforms due to obsolete infrastructure and land degradation. Pastoral degradation in Uzbekistan has far-reaching implications for incomes of rural households, for regional food security and for the soil carbon balance. In spite of these facts, there is a strong focus in the current transition studies literature on arable farming reforms in Uzbekistan, whereas the challenges of pastoral systems in the transition period have not received much attention.

Against this background the question arises as to how the highly centralized Soviet system was able to achieve a highly productive use of rangelands. The objective of this chapter is to highlight the scientific knowledge system as...

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