Investment in China’s Belt and Road Project in Kazakhstan and its Risk Assessment

Proceedings of The 3rd World Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2021

DOI:

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Investment in China’s Belt and Road Project in Kazakhstan and its Risk Assessment

Buho Hoshino, Kazuki Seno, Christopher McCarthy, Maira Kussainova, Sabir Nurtazin, Mikoto Kaneko, Nobutake Nakatani, Satoru Hobara, James Banfill

 

ABSTRACT: 

Oases agriculture is one of the most vulnerable primary industry to climate change and human activates. Central Asia is one of the arid regions highly vulnerable to water scarcity. Located in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is characterized as a semi-arid region which includes dry steppe land in the south. Agriculture carried out in this area is typically oasis farmland with water taken from local rivers used for irrigation. During the former Soviet Union, irrigation projects were widely carried out to expand agricultural land, and large-scale irrigation projects were created in several areas. Therefore, many irrigated farmlands were abandoned due to the collapse of the former Soviet Union. However, China’s investment in Kazakhstan agriculture is cultivating once abandoned agricultural land and developing new oases agricultural land. China’s “One Belt, One Road” project has led to urbanization along railroads and highways, reducing the area of ​​agricultural land. Meanwhile, China is also developing new agricultural land in this region. These two are acts that contradict each other. Our study area of Zharkent (Panfilov) Region is located on the border between Kazakhstan and China, is a semi-arid area and has been cultivating corn by irrigation from the Ili River and the Usek River for many years. Therefore, there are many abandoned agricultural lands because of salinization. However, this area is the start point of the railway and highway of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project to Europe, and corn production and exports are expected to flourish. Therefore, we focus on the vulnerability of oasis agriculture and extract changes in agricultural land for about 30 years from 1989 to the present using Landsat series and Sentinel series and visualized them using RGB color combined techniques. The results show that agricultural land is disappeared or desertified at the Ili river basin and at the foot of the zhongar-Alatau Mountain and that there are several years of fallow even in areas where agriculture is active. Using the Zharkent region in the irrigated alluvial fan of zhongar-Alatau Moun-tain of eastern Kazakhstan as an example, we classify the farm field changing using Landsat TM and Sentilel-2 satellite imagery and identify of vulnerability to the disappearance of oases farmland. China’s investment in agriculture could lead to the depletion of water resources in the region.

keywords: Oases farmland changes, China’s OBOR (BRI), Kazakhstan, Remote sensing, Risk assessment, water resources.