NGO Simba is supporting wildlife protection and nature conservation in Iran. One of the questions Simba has is how to improve the medicinal plant population and production in Bourzakan village in Fars province in a sustainable way. So the people of Bourzakan can make a living and contribute to the conservation of different medicinal plant species in the area.
People of the Qashqai tribe whom settled in the village of Bourzakan some years ago are experiencing difficulties with their agricultural practices contributing to food security and income. Due to drought, climate change and overharvesting the availability of specific local medicinal plants is decreasing. Therefore, new possibilities are needed to cultivate the species and enhance the livelihood of Bourzakan.
By introducing sustainable medicinal herb cultivation this problem migt come to an end. The main focus is on the selection of herbs suitable for the targeted environmental conditions and cultivation methods aiming to secure the livelihoods of Bourzakan in the long run.
A multidisciplinary team of students from the Wageningen University was asked to develop an advice tackling this problem during the course 'Academic Consultancy Training’.
The students formulated following research questions:
Using a combination of extensive literature research, the advice of experts and local community. And predetermined selection criteria mainly focusing on their familiarity with the Qashqai tribe. A selection of 19 medicinal plants was made and an advice was given about cultivation and agricultural methods, including a broad agricultural planning. Finally, processing opportunities of these medicinal plants were explored to examine which secondary products could be feasible for the Qashqai people to commercialise on local and international markets.
One of the students is giving follow up to this research and exploring the possibilities for implementation of the outcomes in Bourzakan.
More information can be found in the report and presentation.