Improving the Pistachio Growing in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
S. Arpaci, I. Acar, H.S. Atli and M. Uzun
Pistachio Research Institute
Keywords: Pistacia vera, pistachio, Central Asia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Central Asia is one of the gene centers of pistachio (Pistacia vera L). They
grow naturally as P. vera forests and are good for the prevention of erosion. P. vera
trees grow normally in areas where the rainfall is below 200 mm/year. Wild
pistachio trees used to protect dams’ basin and to create forests are more suitable to
transform the forest to cultural orchards. In Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan about
150 thousand hectares of wild pistachio exist. Different types and abundance of
pistachio are found under natural growth or seed sown and with the selection in
these areas, new and high-quality pistachio cultivars can be obtained for world
pistachio market. When the present areas are transformed to pistachio orchards,
product may be obtained after the 3-4 years. Production is expected to add economy
of both countries. Uzbek and Turkmen technical experts, who were educated for
pistachio production in their country, as well as the Pistachio Research Institute in
Turkey, by Turkish experts. However, there are legal and the techniques problems
in these countries that need to be taken care of, regarding the agricultural
development of pistachio,
Pistachio grows in the appropriate microclimate of the northern and southern
hemisphere between 30-45° parallel. Central Asia is among the gene centers of pistachio.
They grow naturally, as well as by cultivation such as Pistacia vera forestation to optain
nuts and prevent soil erosion. In the Central Asian Republics only one species of Pistacia
(P. vera L.) can be commonly found. Due to its edible fruits, P. vera occupies a special
position within the genus. P. vera is well known for its wide distribution, ranging from
the foothills of the Kirgiz mountainous range (42°5' latitude North) to the foothills of the
Parapamiz (35°6' latitude South) and from the Boam canyon in the Kirgiz mountainous
range (74°3' longitude East) to Southwest of the Kopetdag (55°4' longitude West)
(Kayimov et al., 2001). Central Asia represents a large and diverse region where a wealth
of P. vera genetic resources exists, and it provides opportunities for reciprocal germplasm
exchange and scientific collaborations (Abdushukur et al., 2009).
The abundance of wild pistachio (P. vera L.) trees in the Central Asia will
contribute to both the Central Asian economy and world pistachio production. The
evaluation of wild pistachio trees as natural resources, the establishment of new modern
pistachio orchards, the conservation of pistachio genetic resources, the selection of new
pistachio types among the naturally growing wild pistachio trees, and genetic material
changes with other pistachio producer countries can be considered as principal subjects to
improve the pistachio growing in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Pistachio trees have
grown in the south of the both countries, and the fruits have great demand in food
industry as appetizers, chocolates, sweets and ice cream, as well as the trunk of the tree is
hard and has high-calorie when it is burned.
Central Asia countries especially Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and
Kirgizstan have a big potential with their rich genetic diversity for selection of new
pistachio cultivars with respect to yield, quality, resistance to drought and pests and
diseases. Pistachio is very important for the development of fruit growing and country’s
economy in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Low productive and poor quality wild
Proc. Vth IS on Pistachios and Almonds
Eds.: B.E. Ak et al.
Acta Hort. 912, ISHS 2011
pistachio trees can be improved in both countries, however, pruning, fertilization and
other cultural application will increase the yield and quality.
South Kopetdag Region includes pistachio stands of the Southwest of
Turkmenistan. They are the continuation of P. vera population of the Parapamiz entering
into Turkmenistan through two patterns of distribution: one located East of Gushgy (‘the
Gushgy grove’) and the second west of Gushgy (the Pool grove, Khatoom grove and the
Badhiz forest reserve all known as ‘Badhiz’). In this region P. vera populations (almost
75 000 ha) are represented by isolated and sometime rare stands growing at an altitudinal
range of 600-1000 m a.s.l. (Kayimov et al., 2001).
Average pistachio production are 210, 114, 93 and 55 thousand tons in Iran, U.S.,
Turkey and Syria, respectively (Table 1). Syria production appears to be the average
value of fresh fruit. In this case, we can consider that the average dry fruit production is
approximately 30 thousand tons. In Turkey, some of the pistachio orchards have been
obtained with grafting of wild Pistacia species. In Anatolia, especially in Gaziantep,
Kahramanmaras, Adiyaman and Siirt provinces, P. vera, P. khinjuk and P. terebinthus are
widespread, and the wild trees have been transformed to the pistachio trees by grafting
(Arpaci and Atli, 1996).
Cooperation about research and development of pistachios between Turkmenistan-
Uzbekistan and Turkey will be beneficial for all the countries, and for the peoples living
in the wild pistachio growing regions in Central Asia.
Seedling production and grafting efforts initiated under the supervision of Turkish
experts at Ashgabat Forestry Management in Turkmenistan, and Saraykorgan Forestry
Management in Uzbekistan. Theoretical and practical trainings had been given to the
Turkmen and Uzbek technical staff at different periods in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and
Turkey about the seedling production, grafting and new orchard establishment by experts
of the Turkish Pistachio Research Institute.
Applied trainings were carried out about the grafting and pruning of wild pistachio
trees in the Kopetdag, Garrigul Research Station of Deserts Institute in Karakum Desert,
Gushgy (Serhadabad) and Ashgabat Aktogay Nursery in Turkmenistan; and in the
Saraykorgan Forestry Station, Gallaoral Pistachio Station and Kamachi Forestry Station
of Karshy in Uzbekistan.
Selection activities were initiated in naturally grown pistachio areas and in
reforestation areas in order to obtain good quality and high yield new pistachio types. In
this regard, a big potential has been determined in Kopetdag, Garrigala (Mahdumkulu),
Gushgy (Serhadabad) and Badhiz region in Turkmenistan; and Gallaoral Pistachio
Station, Babadag, Saraykorgan, Farghona and Karshy Region in Uzbekistan.
Some good quality pistachio types have been found in Uzbekistan and
Turkmenistan, however, selection activities were performed in limited areas because of
time shortage. New pistachio types in these areas can be acquired to the world pistachio
sector. For this reason, more extensive selection activities should be carried out by experts
in both countries.
Establishment of Germplasm and Adaptation of Orchards
New pistachio orchards containing new selected pistachio types and introduced
new cultivars from other pistachio producing countries should be established in suitable
ecological regions of both countries, in order to determine the performances of new types
and cultivars. Research studies should be conducted for pistachio production in salty soils
and limited irrigation conditions in desert areas of both countries.
Seedling Production and Orchard Establishment
Nurseries should be established in suitable areas of both countries. The rootstock
and cultivar base material plots and greenhouses should be established in the nurseries.
Technical staff and potential pistachio producers should be trained about orchard
establishment, rootstocks, cultivars and pollinators, and model orchards should be
established for orchard management trainings.
Grafting Activities and Pruning of Wild Pistachio Trees for Grafting
Pruning is very important to fruit trees, because 15-20% of the yielding branches
are removed with the pruning. The annual light pruning could increase the pistachio yield
as 15-17% (Arpaci et al., 1995). Pruning and grafting activities have been started in
natural pistachio areas and planted pistachio areas for reforestation in both countries.
These activities should be continued, and these pistachio areas can be the potential
economical income of both countries. The budsticks of pistachio cultivars and/or types
and their convenient pollinators should be used in the grafting, and both technical staff
and pistachio growers should be trained.
Cooperation should be continued between Turkey and Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan
under the “Improving the Pistachio Growing in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan” project.
The cooperation with research institutions and organizations, the training of Turkmen and
Uzbek specialists in Turkey, and the investigations of Turkish experts in Turkmenistan
and Uzbekistan will be beneficial to all sides. This is because Turkmenistan and
Uzbekistan have a big potential for pistachio production, and Turkey has a great
experience in growing techniques and breeding of pistachio.
RESULTS AND SUGGESTIONS
− Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have about 150 thousand hectares Pistacia vera forest
and 100 thousand ha of these areas may be grafted and used for pistachio production.
− There are natural growth of P. vera forests, as well as forestation that may help also
erosion prevention in both countries.
− Types abundance in the natural growth or seed sown pistachio areas in both countries
− With the selection in these areas, new and high-quality pistachio cultivars can be
obtained for world pistachio production. For this reason, new selection studies should
− There are suitable climatic regions for pistachio production in Turkmenistan and
− Pistachio areas are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Forest in Turkmenistan
and Uzbekistan. Activities are conducted by horticulturist.
− Wild pistachio areas are under the administration of government. For this reason,
farmers not interested in pistachio production in such areas, and therefore, pistachio
cultivation can not be developed in these two countries properly.
− Wild pistachio areas should be divided to appropriate portion and given to farmers. In
this case, pruning, grafting and cultivation process will be better.
− According to researches, 5 hectare pistachio orchard is enough for livelihood of a 5
person family (Caliskan et al., 2007).
− Training activities of Turkmen and Uzbek experts should be continued about selection,
breeding, pruning, grafting, pollination, irrigation, pest and disease management,
harvest and processing techniques.
− According to research studies in Turkey; 800 kg/ha dry fruit are taken in dry
conditions (Arpaci et al., 1997), and 1780 kg/ha are taken in irrigated conditions (Acar
et al., 2008).
− If 50 thousand hectares wild pistachio areas have been transformed to pistachio
orchard by grafting in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan:
Grafting in 3 years and 8 years later the trees can start bearing fruit
50.000 ha x 800 kg x 6 $ = 240.000.000 $ income can be expected.
In addition, the pruning, grafting and maintenance of 50 thousand ha area will
help to reduce the unemployment in the rural areas.
This project funded by the Turkish International Cooperation and Development
Agency (TIKA). The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Forestry in Uzbekistan
and the Ministry of Protection of Nature in Turkmenistan for their assistance on project
Abdushukur, A.K., Chernova, G.M., Rakhmonov, A.M., Nikolyi L.V., Ablaeva, E.,
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under dry conditions. Final Report. Pistachio Research Insitute, Gaziantep, Turkey (in
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Table 1. World Pistachio Production (tons) (FAOSTAT, 2009).
Countries 2005 2006 2007 2008 Average
Iran 229.657 230.000 230.000 150.000 209.914
USA 128.367 107.955 108.598 110.000 113.730
Turkey 60.000 110.000 73.416 130.000 93.354
Syria* 44.642 73.183 52.066 50.000 54.973
China 34.000 36.000 38.000 30.000 34.500
Greece 9.365 8.228 9.000 8.000 8.648
*as fresh fruit