Batken Province (Southern Kyrgyzstan) is distinguished by a high diversity of apricot varieties. Apricots are one of the important sources of income for the local population. Farmers grow some 20 local varieties in Batken. These varieties have all adapted to drought and other stress factors of the local environment. As apricot enthusiasts, the villagers of Samarkandek, together with Bio-Muras Public Fund try to bring back the cultural significance of apricots, and transfer specific knowledge and practices to the younger generation of farmers through organizing the “Blooming apricot” festival and related project activities. In April, the local communities celebrated the beauty of blooming apricots at the 2nd Festival by singing songs, performing poems and dances.
Mobilized by the festival the area’s farmers have now significantly improved the quality of their apricots, and found a new way to market them collectively for much better prices. Celebrating and restoring their orchards has in turn restored their civic pride and their economic situation, and the local government now hosts the festival.
Photo credit: Jyldyz Doolbekova