Published: 22 January 2020
Last edited: 22 January 2020
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Orchards are very common in Tajikistan’s landscapes and a widely used practice of cultivating fruit trees. Even though a diversified orchard offers multiple benefits, for efficiency reasons, however, many orchards comprise a limited variety of species.

Diversified tree species reduce the risk of pest and diseases outbreaks and ensure a healthy soil structure with an adequate removal and input of nutrients. Furthermore, the different blooming times of tree species provide nectar for pollinators over a longer period of time and hence are beneficial for beekeeping.

When setting up a resilient orchard, it is recommended to conserve natural flora and fauna and to establish the orchard in such a way that disruption of the surrounding environment is kept to a minimum e.g. incorporating existing natural resources into the structure of the orchard. 

The key to designing a resilient orchard is selecting fruit tree species and developing a long-term orchard management plan (10-15 years). 


North and Central Asia
Scale of implementation
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Ecosystem services
Erosion prevention
Land management
Outreach & communications
Science and research
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Invasive species
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of infrastructure
Poor governance and participation
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction
Target 13: Safeguarding genetic diversity
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge


Tajikistan, Rasht and Zerafshan Valleys | Zindakon, Madm, Pokhut, Jafr, Mazor


Despite the significative positive impacts promoted by resilient orchards, concrete challenges can affect their progress.

Establishing an orchard necessitates specific knowledge of fruit tree species and their site requirements, pruning and grafting techniques as well as Integrated Pest Management.

The financial exposure required in the initial steps is relatively high, especially if an irrigation system is required, and concrete economic benefits appear only in the medium and long term.

Erosion and formation of gullies may be the risks connected with improper management of irrigation.


The beneficiaries of the approach are farmers interested in trying out

-diversifying their orchards with various local tree and bush species as well as

-in growing associated crops and vegetables. 

How do the building blocks interact?

The building blocks in the context of resilient orchards are interlinked and interdependent. Therefore, only the combination of all the building blocks results in a better managed resilient orchard. Traditional, local varieties of fruit trees, which are normally better adapted to the local climatic conditions, are conserved. Fruit trees associated with vegetables and fodder plants offer pollen and nectar to pollinators and other beneficial insects over much of the vegetation period, especially if no synthetic pesticides are applied. If fruit trees are associated with fodder plants for the production of hay, fodder supply for animals is better and grazing in early spring can be reduced. Adequate pruning is interlinked with the productivity of associated crops and part of IPM.


Resilient orchards not only address environmental challenges but also economic and social dimensions.

The diversified production of fruit and nuts contributes to an improved vitamin and nutrition intake through a balanced diet. In addition, processed fruites in form of dried fruits, jam, juice or compote generate additional income, especially if stored and sold during the winter months.

Fruit trees associated with vegetables, herbs and fodder plants offer pollinators and other beneficial insects pollen and nectar during most of the vegetation period.

It also contributes to the reduction of grazing in early springs and better fodder supply for animals thanks to the association of fruit trees with fodder plants for production of hay.

Since resilient orchards use as few additional inputs as possible, avoiding the alteration of the ecosystem, natural stone walls and natural/living fences offer habitat and hiding places for fauna.



Mirzosho Akobirov started his journey into cultivating and preserving old local varieties of fruit trees 25 years ago. His disposition for fruit trees seemingly was nurtured from a young age. Already his grandfather was known in the neighboring valley Mazor for his expertise with fruit trees and his passion for poetry and music. As a young man, his grandfather fled from a mudflow that wiped out his whole family in 1949 in Mazor. Suddenly uprooted he came to Jafr where he started his life anew. What he brought along was his knowledge about trees. 

When biodiversity started to become known as a concept in Tajikistan five years ago, he was already practicing himself for a long time by building upon his grandfather’s and father’s knowledge. Since 2017, he contributes with his knowledge to the international project “BIodiversity and ecosystem services in agrarian landscapes”  implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in cooperation with the Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, and commissioned by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU). 

The project is implemented in two regions in Tajikistan and in three countries in the world, Kenya, India, and Tajikistan. Mirzosho takes an active role in promoting biodiversity by implementing the Farmer Field Schools in the watersheds of Jafr and Mazor in Rasht valley. Practical lessons and discussions in the Farmer Field Schools are complemented by visits to Zerafshan valley. These meetings offer the possibility to the farmers to exchange their knowledge and experiences with the approaches promoted in order to foster biodiversity and ecosystem services in Tajikistan. 

Mirzosho enthusiastically explains the variety of plants and their seeds as well as about the different challenges and techniques which can be applied to their benefit. After long years of taking care of fruit trees, he seems to have incorporated their essential lesson: Knowledge has to be shared as a fruit tree shares its seeds freely.

Contributed by

Deutsche Welthungerhilfe

Other contributors

Public Organization "IPD"
Public Organization "Rushnoi"