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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture

Improving practices for dried apricots in Tajikistan

Tajikistan: Improving dried apricots

Browse Horticulture Innovation Lab photos from Tajikistan, with the photo slideshow above or explore the photos on Flickr.

Project Title: Appropriate Postharvest Handling, Processing, and Marketing of Dried Apricots in Tajikistan

Target Country: Tajikistan

Principal Investigator: Peter Hirst, Purdue University

Collaborators

Note: The request for this research project was developed in a collaboration between USAID/Tajikistan and the Horticulture Innovation Lab.

Project Description

Apricots have the potential to be a high value crop for small farmers in Tajikistan as the climate, soil, and water in many parts of the country appear to be favorable for apricot production. Dried apricots are already an established product in northern Tajikistan, but a new industry for southern regions of Tajikistan. Drying apricots extends fruit shelf life and marketing opportunities, although drying techniques used widely now consist of rudimentary sulfur treatment, followed by sun drying on road beds, bare ground and stones. Potentially unhygienic conditions contaminate the fruit with soil, stones and dust, reducing the fruit's phytosanitary condition. As a result, access to markets is compromised and economic returns to growers are not maximized.

The project has four main objectives:

  1. Evaluate the markets, economics, and potential barriers for smallholders of southern Tajikistan to produce export-quality dried apricots.
  2. Assess food safety challenges and develop guidelines in the form of a postharvest and food safety handbook.
  3. Compare three solar dryers (two developed at Purdue University and one from UC Davis) with the current method used by growers in Khatlon province.
  4. Develop meaningful collaborations with Tajik Agrarian University and the Feed the Future Tajikistan Agriculture and Water Activity project.

The Purdue University team will leverage the local knowledge of partners with the Feed the Future Tajikistan Agriculture and Water Activity project and Tajik Agrarian University to ensure solutions are appropriate for local contexts and to promote technology adoption by local farmers and processers.

The project team will produce:

 

More information: