Around 1991, ICIMOD identified a promising Chinese experience worthy of replication in other regional member countries. The Chinese successfully utilised seabuckthorn ( Hippophae rhamnoides Linn), an indigenous mountain shrub, for multiple purposes such as fuelwood, food and drink products, vegetative control of soil erosion, increasing soil fertility, and as a raw material to encourage agroindustrial activities. Seabuckthorn berries were shown to contain more than 100 types of nutrients and bioactive substances useful for human health. Promotion of seabuckthorn provided multiple options for using fragile and marginal mountain land areas to supply low-cost vitamins, a rich source of cash income, and off-farm employment, and an effective means of slope stabilisation and soil moisture conservation.
ICIMOD collected and documented information on the uses and marketing of seabuckthorn and replicated the Chinese success story by initiating activities to promote the cultivation, use, and marketing of seabuckthorn in other HKH areas through:
In Pakistan, promotion of seabuckthorn has become a state supported programme. In the mountain area of Chitral, women’s self-help groups have been formed and are now actively involved in the plantation of seabuckthorn to revegetate barren slopes. In India, a research centre on seabuckthorn was established at Solan University in Himachal Pradesh. Prior to this, seabuckthorn was considered a weed and prevented from spreading. In Nepal, large scale plantation was carried out with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In all these areas, processing plants for seabuckthorn berries have been set up and the products have entered the local markets. While figures are not available, the conservative estimate is that thousands of mountain farmers have benefited from the increased income accrued through ICIMOD’s promotional efforts.
For further information contact:
Samden Lama Sherpa / Jiwan Tamang