Arslan Nawaz

Contact Details





University of Kassel, Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, Witzenhausen

PhD Project Title

Biodiversity and use of sea buckthorn in the Karakorum mountains of northern Pakistan

Abstract of PhD thesis

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L., Elaeagnaceae) is a dioecious, wind pollinated plant and is known as a super fruit due to having nutritional properties as well as medicinal and cosmetic uses. Sea buckthorn is a plant of native Eurasian plant communities stretching from 27°-69°N latitude (Russia to Pakistan) and 7°W-122°E longitude (Spain to Mongolia). Pakistan has more than 3000 ha of sea buckthorn naturally growing in Gilgit-Baltistan of which 20% is utilized in making different sea buckthorn products.

The use of sea buckthorn has great economic and ecological potential for resource poor land users; under farmers´ conditions 1 ha of wild sea buckthorn stands can yield up to 15 t of juice. In Asia, China is the only country widely using the potential of sea buckthorn for making food, cosmetics, and medicine. Apart from wild collection, China is giving subsidies to encourage farmers to grow the species. Recent reports show that Burqin County in Xinjiang region has 1900 ha under sea buckthorn involving 200 households. Entire Xinjiang region currently produces 100,000 t of sea buckthorn fruit which are used for pulp, fruit powder, fruit oil as well as for flavonoid and seed oil extraction reportedly leading to an annual revenue of several million US$. In Inner Mongolia Tianjiao Food Co. Ltd purchases sea buckthorn worth 2.3 million US$ thereby enhancing farmers´ income. A sea buckthorn beverage factory in Shanxi Province annually produces 4000 t juice and 1640 t of fruit powder. Similarly, farmers in the Ladakh valley of India reportedly earn 800,000 US$ from sea buckthorn while the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in Mongolia has recently run several projects to enhance the cultivation and utilization of sea buckthorn. From 2012-2014 Mongolia exported 139 l of buckthorn oil and 12, 000 l of juice.

In Pakistan the Gilgit-Baltistan region has high potential of taking advantage of making products from sea buckthorn due to the high demand on international markets for organically produced fruit including China, Mongolia, India, and the European countries.

However, little is known about local production conditions, diversity of sea buckthorn populations, and nutritional properties of the wild germplasm in the Karakoroum Mountains of Pakistan. The sun drying of sea buckthorn berries before transported to the market is common practice in Gilgit-Baltistan. However, inappropriate drying procedures often harm the visual appearance of fruits and negatively affect the vitamin concentration therefore negatively affecting the fruit´s market value. The price development along the value chain, value addition, market routes, target markets, intermediators, as well as appropriate storage conditions and preservation methods of fruits are relatively unknown. Also there is a need to develop and share knowledge among key actors in the value chain about the importance of these parameters for fruit quality as perceived by consumers. This will help sea buckthorn related products to reach the market with higher customer satisfaction. Therefore, research is urgently necessary to help developing effective management, processing and sales systems for this crop.

The identification of superior ecotypes or populations in the region with respect to yield, nutritional characteristics, and time of ripening may help farmers to collect berries of higher nutritional quality and other market demanded properties, such as fruit size and colour. Apart from a record of nutritional and morphological features, analysis of the genetic diversity is needed to identify germplasm for future cultivation, propagation, and domestication strategies. This may allow to develop breeding programs for enhanced plant fitness under different environmental conditions and will therefore be beneficial for sea buckthorn farmers.

Area of Interest

Sustainable cropping systems, Food supply chain, Ecological genetics, and enhancement of livelihoods of poor people

Educational Background


M.Sc (Hon’s) Plant Breeding and Genetics from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad, Pakistan


B.Sc (Hon’s) Agriculture from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad, Pakistan

Professional Experience


Research associate in project titled “DNA fingerprinting to study various components of supply chain of cotton seed in Pakistan”


Six months research as a researcher in a project titled “Bt cotton in Pakistan: performance and adoption with imperfect information”


Two month experience in IDS of “Rural Household Panel Survey Round 3-Wave 1”


Four months internship programme during my B.Sc. (Hons) Agriculture degree at Cotton Research Station, Multan, Pakistan. The research topic assigned was “Cytological studies of interspecific hybrids and Interrogation of Cotton Leaf Curl Virus through Wild hybridization.”


One month experience as internee in Government Wheat Enhancement Campaign


  • M.A. Nawaz; Krutovski, Kostantin V.; Mueller, Markus; Gailing, Oliver; Khan, Asif Ali; Buerkert, Andreas; Wiehle, Martin. 2018. Morphological and Genetic Diversity of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) in the Karakoram Mountains of Northern Pakistan. Diversity 2018, 10(3), 76.

  • Mumtaz, A., H.A. Sadaqat, M.K. Mubarik, Saif-ul-Malook, M.A. Nawaz, M. Asif and W. Hussain. 2015. A Review on Genetics of Seed Yield and Quality Related Traits in Brassica Group. American-Eurasian J. Agric. & Environ. Sci. 15 (7): 1213-1220.