Ismoil: sweet challenge (Tajikistan)
Ismoil Isokov is living with his 2 sons and wife in the center of Istaravshan in North Tajikistan. The main connection from Khujand to the capital Dushanbe leads through the region. As a result, Istaravshan is known for its active trading and has the largest market of North Tajikistan. Best conditions for producing and trading agricultural products.
Ismoil together with his brother has received 5 ha of land during the land reform in 1997. Like many other new farmers, he needed to catch up on farming techniques and technology, and he needed external finance to start a successful farming business. Since the start of MEDA's 'Farms to Markets' project, Ismoil has been a client of two components. The agricultural advisors have been visiting him and advised him in innovative farming techniques and marketing opportunities. In the last season he has received a credit from our local partner organization IMON, which he used for fuels and agro-chemicals. As a result, he was able to improve his tomato and grape yields and quality, receiving a sales contract for tomatoes with the local processing company, The Technological Center. He processes his grapes into raisins and by now has an annual average of 14t of raisins, which he sells without any problems on the local market or in Khujand.
Ismoil states that grapes are the most profitable of his crops and all his agricultural activities can by now comfortably sustain the 9 members of his and his brother's families.
Nevertheless, he thrives for more. He has applied for a second credit for the current season to revive his honey production and marketing. He has been involved in beekeeping since he was a child, and this natural candy has always been a source of joy for him. He mainly keeps his bees in the beautiful foothill regions of Shakhristan to produce natural mountain honey of exclusive quality. But due to packaging problems, he is not able to find a suitable market for his exquisite product. Now he has joined a local association of beekeepers and hopes that they will assist him with the realization of his annual 5 tons honey production. Together with his neighbors he has invested into equipment for honey extraction and he wants to use a part of this year's credit to purchase sugar to sustain his 150 beehives in off-season times. The MEDA project will help to solve the packaging and marketing problems and Ismoil is already looking forward to the sweeter times coming!