Sustainable Land Management in the Pamir-Alai Region (PALM)

The mountainous areas of the Pamir-Alai region contain a wide variety of natural resources, which, despite their significant reserves, are fragile parts of mountain ecosystems. In mountainous areas there are many renewable resources that, due to their illiterate use, can lead to degradation and depletion.
The population of the Pamir-Alai lives in harsh climatic conditions, at high altitudes and long distances, which severely limits its economic opportunities and leads to a low standard of living. Poverty in this region is widespread. Basically, the population is engaged in animal husbandry and to a lesser extent in the cultivation of crops for their own consumption.

Key facts
Years of implementation:   2010-2011
Place of implementation:   ail districts of Kashka-Suu and Alayku, Osh region
Donor:   United Nations University, Germany

Value chain
The use of natural resources and the possibility of their processing and resale in cities give certain prospects to the population in this region. To understand the whole situation, a value chain analysis is needed that would provide information on stakeholders, capital and technology constraints, constraints, new ideas and recommendations for income-generating projects and investments, and ultimately lead to poverty reduction in the region. A similar study was carried out by the RDF with financial support from the United Nations University in Germany.

Objective of the project
Assessing the financial and economic viability of a small business in the local community by conducting a complete value chain analysis, identifying constraints and providing recommendations for improving product promotion.

Location of the project
The study of value chains was carried out for three products: wool, medicinal herbs and wild berries in the Alayku aiyl district of the Kara-Kuldzhinsky district and the Kashka-Suu aiyl district of the Chon-Alai district of the Osh region.

The main activity of the project
Wool.   Although wool is one of the significant products of the Pamir-Alai, it is not a priority in production. This is due to the fact that the delivery channels for wool from producer to consumer are very weak. The main wool processing services are located far from these areas and access to them is rather limited. In addition, large markets and commercial buyers are also located in the valleys, far from the Pamir-Alai region. These and other factors, such as underdeveloped agricultural production, lack of breeding work, poor feeding and shearing techniques, and the loss of traditional knowledge and skills have affected the ability of farmers in these areas to produce high quality wool and sell it at a good price. At the same time, there is a high demand from numerous medium and small-scale firms for semi-coarse and fine wool of good quality - it is used for the production of felt and felted products. Thus, there is a missing link between demand and supply in this type of production, the elimination of which will ensure an increase in the income of the local population and, consequently, a decrease in the level of poverty in this region.

Medicinal herbs and wild berries.   The collection of medicinal herbs and berries in these mountainous areas is limited and focuses on only a few of their types. Although, it should be noted that these landscapes are extremely rich in valuable resources of "secondary" use. Women and children are most often involved in “secondary” economic activities. They collect and sell medicinal herbs to pharmacies or other wholesalers in Osh, women make jam from berries, squeeze oil and sell it in markets.
At the same time, local people have lost the traditional knowledge, with the help of which they could do this in the past without damaging mountain ecosystems. Also, there is not enough technology and knowledge for their simplest processing. There is a situation when local residents do not have information on how to use medicinal herbs and berries better without harming the environment and increase income at minimal cost.

Project results
An in-depth study of the characteristics of value chains for the designated products provided an understanding of problem areas and restrictions in the relationship between the sale and supply of products, and served as the basis for the design of possible additional sources of income for the population.
The significance of this project lies in the fact that its results and experiences can be replicated in other similar communities. He provided recommendations for other projects aimed at rural development, as well as increased the understanding of rural people in the study areas about ways to increase income.
Rural institutional development