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Saule Suleimenova


Areas of interest

  • Agricultural Crop Modelling and Application
  • Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture
  • Science Communication and Outreach
  • Social Change via Sustainable Development and Education

Research centres and groups

Environmental Science Research Division

Sustainable Land Management Group

Research projects

Modelling soybean yield response to the different irrigation scenarios and small-holder farmers’ adaptation to climate change in south-eastern Kazakhstan

The project looks at how climate change is affecting agriculture in the South-eastern region of the Republic of Kazakhstan, particularly soybean production under different scenarios of water supply utilizing crop modelling tool. AquaCrop FAO crop model is used to analyse soybean yield under different irrigation scenarios to decrease uncertainty and to manage risk associated with irrigation water availability in this semi-arid zone. For this reason, AquaCrop crop model was calibrated and validated for local soybean cultivars for the first time in the region owing to the good data set collected during this PhD research. Then, interviews with the main stakeholders (smallholder farmers) were conducted to understand their interest in obtaining information on soybean yield and optimization of irrigation amount and schedule, increasing water productivity, options for adaptation to climate change, as well as learning about farmers’ current practices and barriers to adaptation. Finally, modelling of soybean yield with applied adaptation options identified by farmers is performed to estimate their effect under different irrigation scenarios. The impact of different irrigation practices is analysed and is proposed then to the stakeholders in the region. 


Professor Maria Shahgedanova (University of Reading)

Professor Martin Lukac (University of Reading)

Dr Lindsay Todman (University of Reading)


I hold an MSc from the University of Lisbon, BSc from al-Farabi Kazakh National University.

My current research interest is agricultural crop modelling and simulating yield response of different crops to multiple irrigation strategies, optimization of water use and water productivity in the water scarce semi-arid regions. I particularly like applying crop modelling tools in regions with uncertainties of water availability to reduce vulnerability of local people.

I am also interested in (as part of my research) climate change communication and building adaptive capacities of vulnerable communities of small-holder farmers. I have an extensive experience in training small-holder farmers, organizing extension systems, bringing together stakeholders including representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, local authorities, and scientific community. I have worked in number of development projects in ICF International, UNDPI, USAID in Kazakhstan. I have broad experience in communication and consultancy working in the Department of International Development at KazNU University.

I have also worked extensively in number of education projects (teaching Environment and Sustainable Development) for less privileged children in rural areas of South Korea, then continued my teaching career in Kazakhstan in Asfendiyarov Medical University, Kazakh American University.

I am overall an agricultural crop modeller, climate activist, social change maker with strong communication skills and extensive experience in training, research, and community engagement.


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