Developing Community-based Fruit Nursery in High-altitude Areas of Pakistan

Sultan Ishaq with community members posing with high-yield fruit varieties

High-altitude areas are more vulnerable to climate change. Due to steep and unstable terrain agricultural activities in such areas tend to be small-scale. They are also far away from logistic centers and are at high risk of abandonment. In such conditions, these areas may be seen as “disadvantaged” and deprived.

People of Upper Hunza reside in a challenging terrain that is which are remote from urban centers and has harsh climatic conditions. The steep and unstable slopes and soils with decreasing fertility over time are a big challenge to long-term, sustainable crop production. The risk of crop failure in Upper Hunza has increased due to change in climatic conditions such as temperature and precipitation. The increased uncertainties of agricultural production have impacted the livelihoods of vulnerable communities as they are dependent on agro-pastoral systems for their livelihoods. The production of staple crops in the region is facing problems such as increased insect pests and disease outbreaks as also an increased variability in agro-climatic conditions, especially during the critical crop growth stages.

In such climatic and geological conditions viable alternatives to earn livelihoods are needed to reduce the risks of crop failure. One such viable alternative is to develop high-value fruit orchards, because they give premium and sustainable returns and are more resilient to climate change than the traditionally grown cereal crops.