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.

Certification tool eases implementation of sustainability and quality standards

Pakistani suppliers of wild collected products often find it difficult and costly to meet quality standards needed for export. On the other hand, international buyers are hesitant to go into business due to the lack of traceability and quality standards. To break this status quo, ProFound designed a certification tool that offered a one-stop solution for sustainable quality management standards for wild collection.

With this tool ProFound offers an easy and affordable approach to implement sustainable collection and quality management standards for companies handling wild-collected ingredients. Additionally it guides the suppliers through the certification process for organic, Fair For Life and FairWild.

“With the support and guidance of ProFound and FairWild in the CBI programme, we are now able to integrate our multiple certifications in one process. This will considerably reduce our certification costs, and enables us to offer clients quality, traceability and a good marketing story for FairWild certified pine nuts on European trade fairs”

– Muhammad Zahid Durrani (Hunza Organics)

Paving the road to the EU market

The aim is to export the certified pine nuts to the EU. The exporters will be assisted by CBI to enter the European market (trade fair participation, buyer missions etc.). The exports of FairWild pine nuts directly contributes to community development through the FairWild premium fund as well as sustain their resources for the future.

ProFound Solutions to reduce costs of wild ingredients certification

  • Business Planning: Identification and training of exporters. We prepare the exporters to meet buyer requirements and support them in creating a unique marketing story for their natural ingredients.
  • Implementation of our certification tool to create sustainable wild collection of pine nuts with the aim to upscale to other natural ingredients
  • Organising sector stakeholder meeting and conferences in Pakistan to bring together stakeholders to upscale the pilot projects in the Northern areas
  • Market Access: Create market linkages by bringing Pakistani exporters to the European market