Hundreds storm govt’s pistachio jungles in Samangan
AIBAK (Pajhwok): Hundreds of people have illegally started collecting pistachios from government forests in northern Samangan province before the fruit ripens, an official said Saturday.
Pistachio jungles are asset of the government, but their fruit is collected by local residents.
Acting Samangan agriculture and livestock director, Sayed Rafiullah Roshan, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the time to collect pistachio started from July 22, but thousands of people on Friday afternoon rushed into the jungles in Hazrat Sultan district.
He said the number of forest guards had been reduced and they could not prevent people from storming the jungle.
Mohammad Samim, 17, a resident of Sarqad area of Aibak city, the provincial capital, said he personally collected 28 kilograms of pistachio.
He said people were already preparing to storm the jungles, therefore he along with his 20 friends also decided to do the same. “Thousands of people are busy right now collecting pistachio,” he said.
A dried fruit trader, Haji Mohammad Ayub, told Pajhwok he recently purchased seven kilograms of pistachio for 200 to 400 afghanis. He said he bought the fruit at a low price because it was not completely ripened.
“If the fruit completely ripens, its seven kilograms cost 1,000 afghanis to 1,500 afghanis because one kilogram of the fruit is sold at 1,000 afghanis in Aibak city,” he said.
However, the situation of pistachio jungles located in areas under Taliban control is yet to be reported.
Currently pistachio jungles in Khwaja Momin area in Aibak city and Koh Kub, Manqton and Omly areas of Hazrat Sultan district are under militants’ control.
According to the provincial agriculture and livestock department, more than 21,000 acres of pistachio jungles are available in Samangan.
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