By Rafiullah Mandokhail
ZHOB: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) distributed forty toolkit sets under it GEF funded project among pine-nut (Chilghoza) collectors in Koh-e-Sulaiman range here. In this connection a ceremony held at Ahmedi Darga area of the Sherani district, where a large number of Chilghoza collectors were present. They were also briefed, through a demonstration to use the toolkits while harvesting the pine-nuts cones.
Speaking on the occasion Value Chain Specialist FAO Yahya Musakhail said that forty Chilghoza harvesting toolkits have been distributed among the communities as the season of Chilghoza harvesting has been started in the mountainous region.
“In the past people used to harvest Chilghoza with a traditional method, that not only posed a serious threat to their lives but also damaged the productive trees branches while cutting the pine-nuts cones. The toolkit contains belt, hook, plastic sheet, helmet, footwear and cutter for harvesting Chilghoza cones”, he said.
Implemented by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and financed by Global Environment Facility the GEF project is aimed at reversing deforestation and forest degradation in high conservation value Chilghoza in the country. He added.
“Chilghoza harvesting toolkits distribution is aimed at improving the Value chain and enhance income of Chilghoza collectors in Suleiman range. Thousands of families in the region depend on Chilghoza harvesting for their livelihood,” he explained.
He said thousands of Chilghoza trees have been planted in the area and a Chilghoza roasting machine will also be installed soon to facilitate the community associated with Chilghoza business.
“The proposed project is part of the “The Restoration Initiative “ with the objective of improved local livelihoods through increased productivity and enhanced services and functions of the Chilghoza forests of Pakistan. The project has been initiated in Sherani district of Balcohistan, South-Waziristan Agency, Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkwa and Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan,” he added.
Local community member Haji Yar Muhammad Sherani on the occasion thanked FAO for its contribution and said, in order to meet the livelihood needs, the local people have started harvesting Chilghoza using toolkits provided by FAO for improved harvesting cones without harming the trees. He said Covid-19 has also affected the Chilghoza business to some extent this year.