Community-run Chilghoza nuts processing units community-run Chilghoza nuts processing units
About the Implementing organization
Name: Kasa Ghar Cluster
Year of establishment: 2012
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization
WWF-Pakistan took a series of initiatives to assist local people in augmenting their incomes from Chilghoza nuts, and subsequently reducing deforestation – the establishment of community-run Chilghoza Nuts Processing Units near forests was a first. Local people were organized into VOs and WGs under a cluster CBO, i.e., Kasa Ghar in Suleiman Range. Then, support was provided to the Kasa Ghar Cluster in training, value addition, and marketing of Chilghoza nuts. About 300 toolkits were given to Chilghoza harvesters which reduced wastage to 12% from 40%. Finally, the Chilghoza processing units, equipped with nut roasting, packing, and labeling equipment, were established in 2 centrally located villages for everyone to access. The Kasa Ghar Cluster Secretary offered his land for free to set up the first processing unit and ensured access to all villagers for processing their harvests.
A market exposure visit was organized for representatives from Kasa Ghar Valley for proper marketing of Chilghoza without involving the middleman. As a result of the marketing linkages and capacity building, 70 households were able to sell 1750 kg of Chilghoza nuts at 23% higher prices (the project enabled them to sell Chilghoza nuts for PKR 738 instead of PKR 600). In addition, training and facilitation enabled 15 households to market 150 kilograms of nuts for 14% higher prices than the prevailing market rates after roasting and packaging (average rate of PKR 1368/kg as compared to PKR 1200/kg).
Forests / Mountains / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security
The Kasa Ghar Cluster, with support from WWF-Pakistan, brought about 260 hectares (ha) area of forest under improved management: 103 ha area under controlled grazing in Kasa Ghar Valley; 115 ha under community-based forest management (locally called the “Pargor” system) in Narai Ghar; 19.50 ha of block plantations; 10.43 ha of woodlots; and 12.5 ha of land sown with Chilghoza seeds.
Through community mobilization, a watch and ward system, controlled grazing, improved Chilghoza harvesting tools, and the establishment of processing units, there has been a reduction in Chilghoza deforestation. According to a survey conducted by Kasa Ghar CBO and WWF-Pakistan, Chilghoza tree cutting reduced from 1014 trees/year to 760 trees in 2014, i.e., 25% in just 2 years - a great achievement of the CBO. Further, there has been an increase in Chilghoza regeneration by 28%, reduction in green trees cutting by 25%, and an increase in Suleiman Markhor population— a key indicator of Chilghoza ecosystem.
Sustainable Development Impacts
According to the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (2014), 52% rural communities in Balochistan and 32% in KP are below the poverty line. Due to poverty and lack of alternate livelihood opportunities, Chilghoza Forests are under constant pressure for timber. Compared to poor quality, low-value timber, the same trees produce good quality nuts that have higher market value and more sustainable income in the long term.
As a result of better processing, marketing linkages, and capacity building, 70 households were able to sell 1750 kg of Chilghoza nuts at 23% higher prices (the project enabled them to sell Chilghoza nuts for PKR 738 instead of PKR 600). In addition, training and facilitation enabled 15 households to market 150 kilograms of nuts for 14% higher prices than the prevailing market rates after roasting and packaging (average rate of PKR 1368/kg as compared to PKR 1200/kg). These households thus have improved livelihoods and food security due to these interventions.
As mentioned, if local communities adopt proper collection, roasting, sorting, and packing practices, and get direct access to national and, subsequently, international markets, they can increase their income significantly (estimated to be 4-fold). Community representatives have already been taken for an exposure visit to Akbari Mandi in Lahore, one of the largest dry fruit markets in the country, to develop market linkages to bypass middlemen and directly sell their harvests for better income. These market linkages need to now be expanded to further cities, both in the country and in the Asian region as well. Based on this business case, these interventions can be scaled up to include other communities that are dependent on harvesting nuts and other NTFPs for their livelihoods. Providing such communities with processing units, training, and market linkages is an established means for sustainable poverty reduction.
The Chilghoza Forests of Suleiman Range provide a habitat to the endangered straight-horned Suleiman Markhor. In addition, the area has medicinally and economically significant plant species. This biodiverse Chilghoza Forest and Suleiman Range mountain ecosystem faces threats from unsustainable use of its resources, social conflicts and ineffective organization that exacerbates anthropogenic pressures, the dearth of income generation opportunities, and lack of both capacity and linkages to enhance livelihoods. The nominated CBO is only working in Kasa Ghar area of Suleiman Range. Relevant interventions, through the tried and tested approaches of Kasa Ghar Cluster, can be replicated in other communities surrounding the Suleiman Range, including Kunday Qaisa, Narray Ghar, Obashtha Soka, Dolay, Zarghoon Zawar, Garrdaw, and Zheda Ponga, that have similar socio-economic conditions. These will help ensure sustainable development and conservation in these ecologically rich areas.
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