Sea Buckthorn & Chilgoza as highland crops

Sea Buckthorn and Chilgoza cultivation in tribal Spiti and Kinnaur respectively, needs to be promoted and popularised in a big way. 

This was emphasised by  the ”Society for Improvement of Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihoods”. 

The society is the implementing agency of the ambitious ”Project for Improvement of Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihoods”.  

Funded by the Japan International Coopration Agency (JICA),  this Rs. 800 crore project is being implemented as a part of Indo-Japan cooperation.

The society has stressed to develop Sea buckthorn nurseries on a large scale in Spiti area, so that the farmers could cultivate and propagate these plants in their fields.  

Sea buckthorn based processing units would also be setup in the area. Similar impetus and efforts were afoot for the cultivation of Chilgoza in Kinnaur. The purpose of this entire exercise was to increase the income of tribal farmers manifold.

It was also stated that  non-timber forest produce based activities for income generation and livelihoods of the communities in the project intervention areas. .

As such, the society has decided to support the Village Forest Development Committees (VFDSs), Self Help Groups (SHGs) and Common Interest Groups (CIGs) by providing financial assistance to start on-farm and off-farm activities.

 These activities will include vermin composting, dairy, vegetable nursery, backyard poultry, mushroom farming, handicrafts/handloom and traditional woolen cloth making, knitting and tailoring. In addition, service sector activities like plumbing, mobile repair, beautician, masonry, electrician, carpentry, hospitality, tourism and horticultural plants pruning will also be supported. 

Reviewing performance of Jadi-Buti cell of the project, the society expressed satisfaction that the cell had developed five models for cultivation of the medicinal and aromatic plants. It was told that cultivation of Palmorosa grass by the cell had been started with the help of the VFDS in Bilaspur district. 

The cell will also start its activity of making plates (Pattals) of Tor plant leaves. Besides, emphasis was also laid on collection and compression of pine needles into briquettes and then their sale during discussion on the cell’s review. 

16 vehicles will be purchased under the project. These vehicles will be provided at the forest range level.

 For the first time that the vehicles will be available in the ranges. This initiative will go a long way in helping the field staff to act and perform more efficiently and quickly, it was envisioned.

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