Valley advances collaboration in Kazakhstan

Project will improve sustainability and introduce advanced technology to local farmers.
EDITED BY ANNE BLANKENBILLER
Center pivot

Valley Irrigation, a Valmont company, is advancing its collaboration with the Republic of Kazakhstan and announced its joint venture with private holding company Kusto Group. The strategic, multiyear project will improve sustainability and resource conservation, introduce advanced farm technology to local farmers in the region and serve as the foundation for making the country an agricultural hub in Central Asia.

“Kazakhstan has tremendous potential to be an agricultural leader in Central Asia,” says Josh Dixon, vice president and general manager of international irrigation for Valley. “The government of Kazakhstan is looking to Valley to support implementation of precision agriculture best practices and cutting-edge farming technologies that are sustainable and that produce better yields while using fewer resources.”

“In 2018, 67% of the nation’s total water consumption was for irrigation,” Dixon continues. “Center pivots from Valley are up to 60% more efficient than other irrigation methods predominantly used in the region. When center pivots are combined with precision irrigation technology, input costs are reduced and crop yields are increased.”

Kazakhstan is the ninth-largest country in the world by land mass – the world’s largest landlocked country – with a population of 18 million. Kazakhstan possesses many natural resources and seeks to tap into its huge agricultural potential.

Agriculture is already an important economic sector in Kazakhstan, but there is room for further growth through improved efficiency. Approximately 81% of Kazakhstan is cultivated land, and 80% of Kazakhstan is predominantly arid steppe or desert. Those statistics, along with the country’s underutilized water channels and hydroelectric system, highlight the importance of precision irrigation in the region.

“This partnership will enable Kazakhstan to unlock its enormous agricultural potential,” says Yerkin Tatishev, Kusto Group chairman. “Valley brings 75 years of experience that will help our growers create sustainable incomes, create new jobs and fulfill the goal of helping Kazakhstan become a food provider to the world.”

The newly created JV, which is registered within the Astana International Financial Centre, signed firm contracts committing to the construction of a plant in Kazakhstan for the manufacture of Valley pivots and a volume guarantee from the government of 4,000 machines. The plant’s annual production capacity will be at least 1,000 pivot irrigation machines.

The agreement will create a network of farms designed to demonstrate advanced irrigation technologies and train local farmers in responsible water management. Valley solutions manufactured in Kazakhstan will serve the domestic market and act as a hub for exports to the region.

“At Valmont, we are committed to conserving resources and improving life. It is our purpose as a company, and determines how we go about the business of feeding and clothing the world,” added Dixon. “This collaboration is an honor to participate in, as it is economically beneficial for all parties involved and will bring food security and economic diversification to Central Asia’s agricultural sector.”

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