Rafiullah Mandokhail Zhob
In order to reduce forest degradation and improve value chain in Sulaiman Range, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in collaboration with Ministry of Climate Change and Forest Department Balochistan installed two more Chilghoza processing units and also distributed fuel efficient stoves and gasifires among the forest-owning communities in Sulaiman Range – surrounded by verdant forests and mighty mountains.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremonies held at Surlaki and Ahmadi Dargah areas, Natural Resource Management Advisor FAO Dr Faizul Bari, Deputy Commissioner Sherani Ejaz Ahmad Jaffar, Conservator Forest Muhammad Amin Mengal, Deputy Conservator Forest Sharaf-ud-Din, District Forest Officer Attiq Khan Kakar, Provincial Coordinator FAO Yahya Khan Musakhail, notables and the area people were present in a large numbers.
Briefing the participants, Yahya Khan Musakhail said that FAO under GEF funded project ‘Reversing Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Chilghoza Pine Forest in Pakistan’, with the support of Ministry of Climate Change and the Forest department is working to support sustainable management of the pine nut ecosystem through number of initiatives to conserve pine nut forest in Pakistan. He added that Sulaiman Range produces 74% of the country’s total pine nuts production.
“Last year, the first installed processing unit processed almost 15 tons of nuts worth 24.5 Million PKR and benefited over four hundred people directly and more than 1000 indirectly,” he said.
Dr. Faizul Bari said that The Global Environment Facility GEF-funded project is aimed at preventing deforestation and restoring the value chain.
“Spread over 132,000 hectares – the annual forest production in Pakistan is Rs. 28 billion. If the harvesting method is improved, it is expected that the annual production can be increased up to Rs. 56 billion per annum,” he hoped.
He said in a bid to prevent deforestation in Sulaiman Range, tens of thousands trees have been planted in the hilly areas, harvesting tools have been provided to increase the production of pine-nuts and save the nuts-bearing trees.