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Recovery of Orchards in Khorog, Tajikistan

Region: Central Asia, Tajikistan
Author: Anastasia Bardasheva, “For The Earth!”, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Consortium Member: Sacred Earth Network (SEN)
Status: Needs Funding Budget: $2750 Collected: $400 Needs: $2350
Goal: To help the mountain communities of remote Khorog to establish a sustainable food source. They are under stress from poverty and regional political conflict.
Comment: Through recovering existing fruit gardens and planting new ones, Khorog communities will be further protected from natural disasters and regional political conflict. They will benefit both ecologically and economically.
Donor: Kellie Cremer, Colorado [October 2003]; Katherine Gould-Martin, New York State [December 2003]; Gail Cremer, Colorado [January 2004]; Carol Hunt, England [January 2005]; Kellie Cremer, Colorado [February 2005 & 2006]


About our Organization:

"For the Earth!" is an environmental NGO active in several areas of Tajikistan. Founded in October 1997, we were officially registered in December 2000. Our main goal is to make people more knowledgable of environmental problems and to increase their participation in addressing critical issues. Our motto is "All for the Earth - No compromise!" “For the Earth!” is a member of the International Social-Ecological Union and an associate member of Youth and Environment, Europe.

"For the Earth!" runs the following programs:

Project Need

Khorog is a town of 30 000 people in the Pamir Mountains, south-east Tajikistan, along the Tajik-Afghan border. It is the center of Gorno-Badahshanskaya Oblast. Fruit orchards play a very important role in the life of local mountain communities. The orchards provide food, some money, defense against mudslides and rockfalls (which often occur there) and prevent large scale landslides. They also improve the aesthetic view of the region.

During the Civil War in Tajikistan (1993-1995), this region was “blocked” from other regions of Tajikistan. Due to the absence of electricity and other sources of fuel, area residents cut down most of their orchards for wood in order to survive those times.

Now, with the situation with fuel improving, it is time to recover these orchards and plant the new ones. These communities have the will to do this, but lack the resources. That is why they need support. "For the Earth!", together with local residents and regional specialists will recover 3 fruit gardens and plant 2 new gardens, which will be named for the contributors to this project. Over 200 local people will benefit from this project.

Project Goals:

To recover 3 fruit orchards and to plant 2 new orchards in Khorog and its soureroundings (Gorno-Badahshanskaya Oblast, Tajikistan) in order to:

Some information about the Khorog area mountain communities

We have a list with 8 mountain communities in which we can realize our project (some of them have plots for new gardens, some for recovery). Of course project can't cover them all. Together with our invited consultants we will choose the necessary number. Mostly all villages (and garden plots) are situated not far (from 20 to 40 km) from Khorog. All these communities are very small and poor. All people live in traditional Pamir houses, which are built from stones, clay and some wood. There is great unemployment in these communities and people practice subsistence farming. Population of these villages is from 200 to 460 people in each.

Methods of Implementation

People from the Khorog area mountain communities, along with five people from “For the Earth!” and two specialists from the District Environmental Protection Department, will plant 3000 fruit seedlings to recover 3 orchards and create 2 new orchards in Khorog and its surroundings. The total area of the orchards is approximately 15 hectares [37 acres].
The seedlings will be purchased from the Pamir Botanical Garden, which is one of the highest Botanical Gardens in the world. We are planning to plant the species of apple trees [Malus sieversii], pear trees [Pyrus Korshinskyi], mulberry trees [Morus alba], and apricot trees [Armeniaca vulgaris], which are the most suitable for the Pamir conditions. The combination of fruit seedlings will differ in different gardens, depending on the needs of local people and advice of the consultants. We also welcome suggestions for names of the new orchards from the project funders.

Plan for raising the seedlings after they have been planted.

Since we are planning to plant the trees native for this area, there is no need to make something extraordinary to grow them up. Seedlings after being planted will be wrapped around with dry burrs or twigs, so that cows or goats or sheep can not eat them. Probably (that will be discussed with local authorities and communities' representatives) garden plots will be fenced by small stone fences. We also plan to sign up an agreement with authorities and communities' representatives on future care of the gardens.
Invited consultants will revisit the communities after one month, and again in autumn to see how the seedlings are doing, and if there are any problems (experts can visit plots more times if they consider it is necessary). When planting the seedlings, we will hold workshops for the communities. Our experts can give some practical advices to people how to take care about trees in the future (how to water trees, how dig up it and so on).

The Seedling Planting Group will include five people, three from our organization (2 from Dushanbe and 1 from Khorog) and two invited experts. Mahmadsho Kadamshoev is the head of the laboratory of Pamir Botanic Institute. A Senior staff scientist, he has experience working for projects of local environmental protection department and WWF. Pulod Shoshnazarov is a forestry specialist and expert on decorative and fruit trees in Pamir Botanic garden.

Time frame: 2 months
The project will be implemented during the most suitable season for planting seedlings in the Pamirs, April-May. During this time, “For the Earth!” also will conduct workshops for the mountain communities about the importance of protecting orchards in the Pamirs, to improve not only their environment, but also their socio-economic situation.

Expected outcomes

The recovered orchards will provide local people with food and income from fruit sales in the future. They will protect them from natural disasters and will improve the environmental situation in region, overall. The seminars will raise public awareness and encourage the local population to take an active role in addressing environmental and socio-economic problems. Over 200 local people will benefit from the project.

Budget

(Note: 3 persons from our organization will work directly on this project: 2 from Dushanbe and 1 from Khorog, in addition to the 2 expert consultants from Pamir Botanic Garden).
Fruit Trees (3000 seedlings - $0.50/seedling) $1500
Gardening tools $200
Car rental $200
Airline-tickets Dushanbe-Khorog-Dushanbe (for 2 people) $120
Meals for 2 people from Dushanbe for 1 month ($5/person/per day) $300
Seminar expenses (5 seminars - $30/seminar) $150
Printing informational materials $30
Subtotal $2500
Virtual Foundation administrative fee $250
Total requested from Virtual Foundation $2750