Thousands storm pistachio jungles in Samangan

Monday, 17 July 2017 03:09 Written by  Heart of Asia Published in Economy Read 116 times

Thousands of people have illegally started harvesting pistachio nuts from government forests in northern Samangan province before reaching maturity, an official said Saturday.

 

The pistachio jungles in Samangan are protected by local councils in coordination with the provincial agriculture and livestock department until the fruit ripens in early August. After a specific period, people start collecting pistachios from jungles.

Mohammad Asif Qasimi, forests manager at the Samangan agriculture and livestock department, said around 10,000 people from different areas of the province had gathered around pistachio jungles over the past 10 days stormed the trees on Friday night.

He said forest guards were limited and could not prevent the large number of people from attacking the jungle.

Qasimi said pistachio jungles were national asset and collecting the nuts illegally was a crime.

He said harvesting pistachios before reaching maturity led to a 50 percent decrease in the yield. A ripened pistachio has more weight compared to the un-ripened.

Mohammad Aslam, a resident of Takht-i-Rustum village of Aibak, the provincial capital, said: “When I heard the pistachio is ripening and people prepared to storm its jungles, I along with eight other persons came by our car near the jungles then three days ago and we started collecting the fruit last evening when other people did so.”

He said he collected 35 kilograms of pistachio. Zargul, a resident of Shalakto area of Aibak city, said he collected 70 kilograms of pistachio from Hazara Mazari Jungles. He said a kilogram of pistachio cost 1,000 afghanis in Aibak city.

According to the provincial agriculture and livestock department, more than 21,000 acres of pistachio jungles are available in Samangan. Samangan pistachio is exported to Pakistan, India and European countries.