By Rafiullah Mandokhail
ZHOB: Food and Agriculture Organization’s representative in Pakistan Ms. Rebekah Bell and Secretary Forest and Wildlife Balochistan Muhammad Siddique Mandokhail inaugurated the plantation campaign by planting Chilghoza (pine-nuts) saplings under ‘Reversing Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Chilghoza Pine Forest in Pakistan’ project in district Sherani, Balochistan.
The Global Environment Facility funded project is implemented under the oversight of the Ministry of Climate Change, contributing 23 million trees to the Ten Billion Trees Programme.
Ms Rebekah Bell said that FAO with the support of forest department was working to support sustainable management of the pine-nut ecosystem through numerous initiatives to conserve pine-nut forest in Pakistan.
“The Chilghoza project is working with the local communities to enable them to receive a greater share of the revenue from post-harvest processing of the Chilghoza nuts. Provision of Chilghoza processing unit, harvesting toolkits and development of local processing and value-added capacity will provide further incentives in the province,” she said.
Secretary Forest and Wildlife Muhammad Siddique Mandokhail on the occasion said that for centuries, the ancestors have protected the natural ecosystems using and managing natural resources, but unfortunately losing precious natural resources due to the negligence.
FAO Assistant Representative, Aamir Irshad said that the project will continue to contribute by improving the environment, enhance resilience and creating livelihoods opportunities in Balochistan. He also urged the local community to plant maximum saplings to make the country green and said that it was the responsibility of everyone to restore the sustainable action needed to protect natural resources and make the tree plantation campaign successful.
Natural Resource Management Advisor of FAO, Faiz-ul-Bari said that FAO with the support of Forest department is conserving pine-nut forests in Balochistan. He said that the Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) sites were being conserved with the help of local communities by signing terms of partnerships with them.
FAO Provincial Coordinator, Muhammad Yahya Musakhail said that during the current year FAO in collaboration with provincial Forest department, will establish 50 acre block plantation, provide 200,000 forest and 20,000 fruit plants free of cost to the communities, 300 fuel efficient stove, pine cones crushers, processing units and Chilghoza harvesting tool kits to improve value chain and conserve forests.
“The GEF funded project contributes to the restoration, protection and sustainable management of Chilghoza forests to provide global environmental benefits as well as enhanced resilience and livelihoods to local stakeholders. The project focuses on the improved and sustainable management of Chilghoza forests while strengthening the National and Provincial Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) Policies and Legal Framework,” Musakhail added.
Meanwhile, Ms. Rebekah Bell and Minister for Livestock and Environment, Mitta Khan Kakar also inaugurated water facilities in the district. The provincial minister appreciated the efforts of the FAO in providing guidance and support to the communities for the up scaling of proper nutrition education and awareness at all levels.
Ms. Rebekah Bell said that FAO was playing a significant role to promote gender equality and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Contribution of women to agricultural development should be maximized by implementing solutions to the specific social, economic, legal and cultural problems they encounter, attention should be paid to strengthen the economic dimension of women’s work in rural areas. She added.