FAO installs Chilgoza Processing Unit at Diamer, Gilgit Baltistan and Zhob, Balochistan



Diamer/Zhob , OCT 5 –  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations under the project “Reversing Deforestation and Forest Degradation in High Conservation Value Chilogoza Pine Forests in Pakistan” inaugurated Chilgoza processing units in Diamer district of Gilgit Baltistan and in Zhob, Balochistan.

The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented under the oversight of the Ministry of Climate Change. Furthermore, the project is additionally contributing 23 million trees to the Ten Billion Trees Programme of MoCC.

The project has involved the local community within the conservation and protection of forests while adding value chain development. Since the key issue faced by the local community is the lack of access to Chilgoza processing unit, FAO through the project, installed a processing unit at Chilas, Diamer and Zhob, Balochistan, covering Chilgoza cleaning, grading, roasting, packing and labelling. This initiative will allow the local community to sell a finished product at a higher price and also will increase the shelf life of roasted pine nuts up to six months. From the conservation perspective, the specialized tools and the training to the communities, has improved forest regeneration. Moreover, training for women on packing and labelling, kitchen gardening, and literacy are paradigms of the initiatives that have been identified by the communities.

FAO and the Forest Department representatives of both districts jointly inaugurated the processing units.  On this occasion, the community members, local traders, forest department officials attended the event. For this first year, representatives from the communities, Forest Department staff will be trained for independent running of the processing unit starting from next season in 2021.

Speaking on the occasion, Country Representative of FAO, Mina Dowlatchahi highlighted the significance of such unit to ensure more benefits arising from natural resources management. She stated that for the first time in Diamer and Zhob districts, the local people will be able to process their harvest in one place from grading to packaging and labelling, and hence obtain a higher price on the market compared to selling cones or unroasted nuts. It is hoped that these economic benefits would increase the efforts and engagement of the communities in Chilgoza forest conservation, she said.

Deputy Commissioner Sherani, Balochistan, Muhammad Ramzan Palal said that forests are the integral part of nature. Efforts are underway not only to prevent deforestation in Sherani district, but also environment-friendly trees are being planted alternatively. He called for the promotion of agro forestry to protect pine-nuts and olive forests in the district.

District Forest Officer Diamer, Gilgit Baltistan, Zakir Hussain stated that the processing unit will help the local communities to get a better price at the market. He also added that it is another step towards our natural resource management goal. He also stressed on collective efforts of communities, government and development partners to raise awareness about the conservation of natural resources. 

The project contributes to the restoration, protection and sustainable management of Chilgoza pine 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 Chilgoza forests while strengthening the National and Provincial Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) Policies and Legal Framework.