Seabuckthorn – A source of livelihood in Northern Areas, Pakistan
Ghulam Nabi Shigri
Northern Pakistan falls in the dry temperate zone beyond the reach of Eastern monsoon range, however western disturbances bring snow and rainfall in the winter spring. Most part of Northern Pakistan lies under the watershed Hamaliya, Karakuram and Hindukash (HKH). This remote area is dependent on limited land related activities, devoid of income orientation that makes consistent livelihood very difficult. Human settlements lies only in the inner valleys, situated along rivers, streams and on alluvial fans. Unsustainable use of natural resource, limited agricultural land and soil erosion are the main problems of the area.
The use of Seabuckthorn to satisfy the long term conversation needs as well as the short term economic need of people depending upon rapidly degrading mountain resources. Seabuckthorn is one such species that has a great potential for satisfying the above requirements. As a multipurpose plant Seabuckthorn has a vital role in the land locked, tormented farming community being a source of cash income, off-farm employment, effective mean of environment and soil conservation. The native specie Hippophae rhamnoides subsp. Turkestanica is spread over an an area of 3000 hectares along river banks, streams water channels and around springs, which are used for fuel, fencing and forage purposes. Estimated annual production is about 2500 tons fresh berries (lu rongsen 1996) that could be increased 2-3 folds through tree management and further propagation. The existing production can support a cottage industry in the area to export raw material and semi finished products to down cities and abroad.
National Aridland Development & Research Institute (NADRI) Ministry of Food, Agriculture and livestock Government of Pakistan worked for seabuckthorn exploitation & Development in Pakistan worked for seabuckthorn exploitation & Development in Pakistan for the last three years. The salient achievements included awareness, establishment of nurseries, field plantations, berries collection, experimental fruit processing, oil extraction and prepation of more then 30 food and medicinal products on trial basis. To continue and extend the NADRI efforts PAK-Seabuckthorn International ( a community based private entrepreneur) has been founded to utilize the existing Seabuckthorn resource for commercial purpose for the socio-economic uplift of the rural community. PAK-Seabuckthorn International will built a chain from farm to the industrial processing units with the assistant of International Seabuckthorn Organization and oher institutions for the betterment of the humanity of Northern, Pakistan.