The agriculture ministry signed a one-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Samden Group to initiate a joint research to propagate locally grown Sea-buck thorn (Hippophae spp. of Elaeagnaceae family).
The MoAF Secretary said sea-buck thorn is a commercially viable operation. “This MoU will take us one-step closer to realize the potential of sea-buck thorn”.
“This is the first private entrepreneur investment in research,” said Director of Council for RNR Research of Bhutan (CoRRB) Dr. Tashi Samdrup adding it is like domesticating the natural resource to benefit the communities.
Under the MoU, 10,000 cuttings from in-and-around Bumthang will be prepared and a nursery will be established. Handling of planting materials and the growth pattern will be monitored and assessed. The seedlings will be finally provided to the farmers in lieu of the commercial application by Samden Group.
The execution of MoU will be coordinated by CoRRB and it will also monitor sustainable collection of planting materials from the wild to facilitate and guide implementation of the project.
The nursery from where required-data is collected will be based at Renewable Natural Resources Research and Development Centre (RNR-RDC), Jakar in Bumthang.
Samden Group will provide the technical guidance and training to prepare the cuttings, to establish nursery and to collect data through its experts. It will bear all the related costs. Besides that Samden Group will purchase and provide any other required-inputs.
The sea-buck thorn is a native over a wide area of Europe and Asia. It is grown in gardens and also used as landscaping shrub. It is also grown as wind breaks to stabilize riverbanks and steep slopes.
The berries serve cosmetic purposes as skin creams and liniments while the fluid can be drinkable as syrup.