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August 2013

Belarus to establish farm equipment JV in Kazakhstan

Source: The Times of Central Asia, 16.08.2013

The Minsk region of Belarus plans to set up a joint venture to produce equipment for dairy farms in Kazakhstan, BelTA reports. The issue was discussed during a visit of a Minsk region delegation led by Minsk Region Governor Boris Batura to Kazakhstan’s Karaganda region earlier this week.

“A contract for the shipment of milking equipment worth over ˆ900,000 has been inked between Belarus’s Unibox Group of Companies and a company in Karaganda region,” said Dmitry Pavlovich, a senior official at the Minsk regional administration. “It will be our first joint project in this area. Equipment manufactured in Minsk region will be installed at a farm in Kazakhstan, which will be constructed with the use of Belarusian technologies. Governor of Karaganda region Baurzhan Abdishev has given a go-ahead to this project.”

The sides also consider construction of a milk-processing plant in Karaganda region. “We suggest supplying dried milk from Belarus to the new plant and making products from this milk in Kazakhstan,” Pavlovich said.

Food products are a major export item of Minsk region to Karaganda and the rest of Kazakhstan. In 2012, Minsk region’s export to Karaganda region accounted for 30 percent of Belarus’s total export to Kazakhstan. Dairy exports went up almost two times (up 98.3%) compared with 2011, reaching $5.4 million. Beef, pork and poultry meat exports increased 1.6 times, to $3.8 million.

According to Belarusian statistics, in 2012 trade between Belarus and Kazakhstan totaled $149 million, down 8.1% compared to 2011, including exports from Belarus totaling $116.5 million and imports from Kazakhstan at $32.5 million.

UNDP completes sustainable pasture management project in Kyrgyzstan

Source: The Times of Central Asia, 16.08.2013

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has completed its project on sustainable pasture management in Suusamyr Valley in Kyrgyzstan.

Suusamyr is a unique valley as its pastures are used not only by local population but also by pasture users of 11 districts of Kyrgyzstan’s Chui, Talas and Jalal-Abad oblasts, UNDP said in a statement this week. The lack of effective pasture management resulted in degradation of over half of the Suusamyr lands. Degradation caused low crop yields and shortage of food supply among local population. To address these problems, the UNDP started implementation of the project “Demonstrating sustainable mountain pasture management in the Suusamyr Valley in Kyrgyzstan” with financial support of the Global Environment Facility.

In order to ease pressure on nearby pastures, UNDP restored roads and bridges in Suusamyr Valley and opened access to distant pastures. Management of pastures is now done through an electronic system “E-Pasture Committee” and association of pasture users. Due to the project Suusamyr pastures were clearly mapped and evaluated, while users now have a livestock grazing plan that considers the wild migration corridors and pasture flora. There were also a number of capacity building and awareness-raising activities: launching the Suusamyr FM community radio, training courses on livestock farming and pasture management. All these measures helped to regulate cattle grazing more effectively, ease pressure on pastures, and increase crop yields in the valley.

According to experts, desertification affects one third of the earth’s surface and about 1.5 billion people globally. From 10 to 20% of dry territories are already affected by degradation. It is mostly developing countries that face degradation issue. The total area of earth affected by desertification is estimated from 6 million to 12 million square kilometers. This area is comparable to territories of Brazil, Canada and China.

“E-Pasture Committee” is a unique system because it enables pasture committees to manage pasture resources in real time. The System contains a map of Suusamyr Valley and allows for recording of livestock, vaccination process control, searching of pasture tickets, routes of livestock migration, number of grazing livestock, grazing area, calculation of a fee amount, and registration of payment.

Community radio “Suusamyr FM” was established in 2011. The radio broadcasts on 103 FM frequency and covers the territory of six villages with more than six thousand population. The studio is located in the local school of Suusamyr village.

Alstom Grid launches upgraded substation for Nurek power plant in Tajikistan

Source: The Times of Central Asia, 16.08.2013

Alstom Grid earlier this week inaugurated the upgraded 220 kV gas-insulated substation at the Nurek hydropower plant (HPP) in the presence of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and representatives of the French and German embassies in Tajikistan.

The substation replaces a 220 kV air-insulated substation following a complex ˆ22 million upgrade project, Alstom said in a press release. This strategic 220 kV air-insulated substation supplies electricity for 80% of Tajikistan's consumers.

Nurek HPP is the largest hydropower station in Central Asia with an installed generation capacity of 3 GW. It produces over 75% of Tajikistan's electricity. Its functions include power generation, frequency regulation of Central Asia networks and irrigation supply for downstream countries such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The 220 kV air-insulated substation upgrade project is the first stage in the Nurek HPP program managed by Alstom Grid.

Alstom Grid and Tajik national energy company Barki Tojik signed the Nurek HPP contract in 2010 and 2011 for the upgrade of both the 220 kV air-insulated substation and a 500 kV air-insulated substation respectively. This is the first project in Central Asia to use 220 kV and 500 kV gas-insulated substation technology.

During the 220 kV upgrade, Alstom replaced the air-insulated substation with a gas-insulated substation, occupying 5% of its footprint. The project was highly complex due to the strategic importance of the substation for the Tajik power network and the rocky conditions at the site.

The second stage of the Nurek HPP project will include the 500 kV air-insulated substation upgrade. For this turnkey project, Alstom Grid will replace the existing 500 kV air-insulated substation with a 500 kV gas-insulated substation. Currently, on-site construction works are under way and equipment is being delivered to Tajikistan. The substation is scheduled to be commissioned in December 2014.

Tajikistan has enormous hydro power potential. Less than 10% of the country's hydroelectric energy resources have been developed so far. Making the most efficient use of the country’s energy resources is critical to meeting the growing electricity needs of Central Asian and South Asian countries.