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Pakistan is blessed with abundant natural resources and a range of mountain ecosystem services. However, these resources have not been effectively and sustainably leveraged to provide socioeconomic benefits to mountain communities, where poverty is prevalent. In Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral, linkages among agriculture, tourism, and trade serve as the backbone of the local economy. These areas hold great potential for an organic push: an intertwined network of products and services driving resilience building, employment, environmental conservation, and sustainable development.
Transboundary Landscapes, Hindu Kush Karakoram-Pamir Landscape
18 June 2019
Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral are socioeconomically more robust than most mountain regions in Pakistan, possess an increasingly educated workforce, and have an adequate network of local private and public institutions. They are also strategically located as the gateway to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor along the modern Silk Road. Importantly, there is great potential for the production of organic, proven, and resilient local varieties of crops, including those of high value.
The Government of Pakistan has identified agriculture, tourism, and export-oriented trade as national priorities. These sectors can collectively promote niche organic products and services in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. This will require enabling policy and legal frameworks, innovative entrepreneurship, prudent investments, effective branding, and high quality standards.
In this context, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Government of Pakistan, and ICIMOD, in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), are facilitating a national consultative workshop on “Organic potential along the Silk Road”. The workshop aims to explore, understand, and underscore the feasibility of unlocking the organic potential in the mountains of Pakistan, particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. Accordingly, it will establish an enabling framework for an overarching strategy, collaborative partnerships, and policy options and actions.