During 8 weeks, an academic consultancy team of Wageningen University students has been developing an advisory report within the context of the ‘Khorshid’ project. Within this project, the group of students focussed on medicinal plant cultivation in the Bourzakan region of Iran.
The consultancy team was an interdisciplinary group, consisting of students with backgrounds in biology, nutrition & health, organic agriculture & agro-ecology and environmental sciences.
Besides being multidisciplinary, the team is multicultural, with students coming from The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Indonesia.
Creating a sustainable, organic and circular agribusiness
The aim of this specific project was to explore and advise on opportunities to create a sustainable, organic and circular agriculture-business in the Bourzakan region for increasing local quality of life and environment. The team especially focussed on medicinal plant cultivation, since Iran has a rich
and extensive culture and history of using medicinal plants.
The challenge was to find plants that could stand the dry conditions within the Bourzakan area, now and in the future. The selection of plant species for cultivation and agricultural planning was based on the Bourzakan Qashqai’s familiarity with the plants and whether they could be sold on local/regional markets.
Therefore, the students used a bottom-up approach, by utilizing the local knowledge of plants from the feedback of the Bourzakan community. Besides a selection of plants, cultivation and processing methods were suggested by the project team.
Finally, this may serve to benefit economic empowerment as well as increase climate resilience, preserve and enhance ecosystem services.