Islamabad: The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), Pakistan, and the Gansu Light Industries’ Science Research Institute, China, have partnered together to explore potential for the commercial development of the sea buckthorn industry in Pakistan. The two bodies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 14 April 2017 in Lanzhou city, Gansu, China. The Gansu Provincial Department of Science and Technology will provide about half a million Chinese yuan (USD 73,000) to support this collaboration for two years.
The AKRSP is the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) implementation partner for the Support to Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalaya (Himalica) initiative’s pilot project in Pakistan. It is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The Gansu Light Industries’ Science Research Institute, on the other hand, is based in Lanzhou city with multiple functions such as business incubation, laboratory testing, online selling and marketing, market research, packing and packaging, online training, and industry collaboration.
Both the AKRSP and the Gansu Light Industries’ Science Research Institute will work together to conduct technical analyses and incubate innovations to develop a series of sea buckthorn-based products. Technology and knowledge transfer on standardization, quality, processing, and marketing along with packing and packaging are priority areas of exchange and improvements. This partnership will also help build the capacities of relevant stakeholders through trainings, exchanges, apprenticeships, and private sector partnerships to promote the industry.
The MOU was one of the outcomes of a recent exposure visit jointly organized by ICIMOD and the AKRSP for a team of yak value chain actors from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral, Pakistan, to Gansu province, China, under the leadership of Ruijin Long, Senior Ecologist at ICIMOD.