The Pistachio Forests of Qala-e-Naw
A couple of kilometres north of Qala-e-Naw in Badghis province, the Earth gives one of her few gifts to this country.
Early in the morning during this time of year, the noise of people and vehicles â€” trucks and small motorcycles loaded at their maximum capacity â€” can be heard from Qala-e-Naw to the near forests. The pistachio may be the most important natural resources in Afghanistan. The gathering, in the extensions of pistachio forest, is traditionally free for anyone who wants to venture to it, not only for the citizens of the province but of the whole country.
The pistachio campaign is the most important socio-economic event of the year for the province, with its 90,000 hectares of pistachio forests. In addition to providing local families sustenance for several months, the shells from the annual pistachio crop are burned for heat during the winter.
The Afghan government in Badghis has noticed an increasing problem: uncontrolled exploitation of this resource. The massive arrival of people is occurring earlier in the season every year, not allowing the crop to mature appropriately.
To help, ISAFâ€™s nearby Spanish Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is assisting the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police with restricting access to pistachios forests before the official authorization. This also promotes the repopulation of the plantation.
According to Badghis Governor Mohammad Ashraf Naseri, the PRTâ€™s contribution is fundamental for the regionâ€™s security. He is also hopefully that, with the Spanish PRTâ€™s help, it may be possible to bring electricity to the population, avoiding the cutting of the pistachio forests for firewood during the winter.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 at 2:00 pm and is filed under War on Terror, Afghanistan, War on Terror, Afghanistan, Rebuilding, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.