One-stop-shop certification tool takes Pakistani pine nut communities to greener grounds
Eaten in Europe and Asia since prehistoric times, pine nuts are still gaining popularity in modern Western cuisine. They are frequently added to meat, fish, salads and vegetable dishes, used in sauces such as pesto, or baked into bread. Pine trees take a long time to reach maturity and yield a good harvest. This means investing in pine nut production is long term and supplies have not kept up with increasing demand.
Due to growing world demand, pine nuts are more frequently collected unsustainably from the forests. Often, all cones are collected instead of leaving sufficient cones on the trees for natural regeneration. Pine nuts are an important cash crop for communities in Pakistan. This means harvesting the pine forests sustainably is essential for the livelihoods of these families in these communities, in particular as these are harsh, dry areas with few other options for communities.
Pilot for sustainable sourcing
Spread across 175,000 square kilometers of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Western Himalayan mountain ranges, northern Pakistan is rich in biodiversity. Protected areas now cover 11 percent of the mountains, and community co-managed conservancies a further 12 percent. However, threats remain to the region’s unique biodiversity as local communities over collect wild products, leading to a depletion of natural resources in the region.
Under the umbrella of CBI and the Mountains and Markets project (GEF/UNDP), ProFound designed a pilot project in the Northern areas of Pakistan. This pilot focuses on sustainable sourcing of high quality pine nuts by implementing multiple quality standards and certifying products to add value on international markets.