Reforestation project in Kunduz offers more than 2,000 jobs

By Muhammad Qasem

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on September 11 launched a two-month-long project aimed at restoring pistachio and hing (asafoetida) orchards in Kunduz and employing thousands. More than 2,350 residents of Aliabad district of Kunduz are being employed to plant 5,000 saplings, said an SCA official in Kunduz province. [Courtesy of Obaidullah Ahmadi]

KUNDUZ -- A new initiative that aims to restore pistachio and hing (asafoetida) orchards has created jobs for more than 2,350 residents of Aliabad district of Kunduz province.

The project is being implemented by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The two-month-long project started on September 11 in six villages of the district and covers more than 20,000 hectares of land, according to Masoud Sharifi, an SCA official in Kunduz.

The local residents are hired to planting 5,000 saplings.

Workers on September 11 dig holes and plant saplings to restore pistachio and hing (asafoetida) orchards in Mir Shaikh village, Aliabad district, Kunduz province. [Kunduz Department of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock]

Workers on September 11 dig holes and plant saplings to restore pistachio and hing (asafoetida) orchards in Mir Shaikh village, Aliabad district, Kunduz province. [Kunduz Department of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock]

"Every regular labourer receives 400 AFN [$4.52] per day, and each skilled labourer receives 750 AFN [$8.48] for digging holes for saplings," Sharifi said.

"Construction work on a 110-metre-deep well and 22-square-metre reservoir to irrigate the pistachio and hing orchards has also begun," he said.

The UNDP provided 2 million AFN ($22,605) for the effort, according to Sharifi.

"The climate in Kunduz is suitable for agriculture ... we want to start planting saplings in other districts of Kunduz too."

The pistachio and hing trees will also help prevent soil erosion, he said.

Critical income

The project "is a blessing to our people. If the trees grow and bear fruit, our people will benefit from it," said Ali Mohammad Haidari, 42, a resident of Mir Sheikh village taking part in the planting.

"I am happy that I am bringing greenery to my community and am earning a living for my family," he said.

The project could bring economic growth as well, said Janat Gul, 66, another worker.

"We are very happy today that we no longer depend on anyone else," he said. "I had not been able to find enough food for my children for a couple of months and had to ask others for help."

"Our lands have been affected by drought for many years now. We did not know what to do or how to earn a living," he said.

"Now I have work and can put food on table for my family."

Abdul Ghafar, 48, another worker and the breadwinner for a family of six, said he was previously unable to find work.

"I earn 750 AFN per day now and can buy enough food for my children," he said. "I have a job for two months and will try to find a job after that too."

Environmental, economic benefits

The reforestation project will reap both environmental and economic benefits, said Rahim Gul Farakhzad, a resident of Kunduz city.

"Unfortunately, the pistachio orchards suffered greatly from various factors in the previous years," he said. "If these orchards are restored, the economic situation in Kunduz, especially in Aliabad district, will significantly improve."

"Orchards are very important in preventing soil erosion and air pollution," he added. "If there are no orchards, polluted air will cause diseases."

Orchards also play a critical role in mitigating climate change impact, including moderating the temperature in both the winter and summer, he added.

"The public must help in the protection of orchards," Farakhzad said.

The objective of this project is to create jobs, improve greenery and prevent soil erosion, said Abdul Majeed Nafez, director of the agriculture unit at the Kunduz Department of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.

"Once the trees start bearing fruit, the residents ... can sell them too to improve household income," he said.

"We are going to hire members of [local orchard protection associations] to maintain and protect the planted trees from any harm in the future," he added.

Do you like this article?

4 Comment

Comment Policy * Denotes required field 1500 / 1500

I want to write three things: - A friend of mine from Laghman told me over the phone that in Laghman, pits have been dug to plant Ziziphus forests in the hills near the Daronta area, but now WFP does not allow planting forests there. Or in other words, it opposes giving people bread for work. They say they provide flour to people, but they should not work. If this is true, it is dangerous news for our country, because in this way, the development of our country is prevented and on the other hand, people will become beggars. - Now I read on Facebook that a person has written that (the World Food Organization has started artificial Ziziphus forest construction on 80 hectares of sand hills in the Kuz Kunar district of Nangarhar province. After this, the complete feeding and training of honey bees will be done indoors.) This is good news, and the process should be accelerated. For this reason, we are grateful to WFP and other international and domestic institutions and citizens. - The third thing is that Putin, the President of Russia, said that America should compensate Afghanistan for its destruction of Afghanistan. Yes, this is true, but first, Russia, the legacy of the Soviet Union, must compensate Afghanistan for killing Afghans and destroying Afghanistan. Then America should give the compensation.


Growing and strengthening forests is an excellent job as the world deals with problems provoked by global warming every day. This project is admirable for conveying greenery to the area, economic growth, environmental protection, flood control, and job creation. I hope the donors will strengthen Afghanistan's economy by funding such projects. The only way to rescue Afghanistan from misfortune and needing others is to fund and implement such public service projects that have eternal impacts. May God bless you for informing us of joyous occasions in the community by publishing such news.


Developing forests in the country is admirable, especially when it creates job opportunities. On the one hand, forests can play an essential role in the country's economy; on the other hand, they protect the region from the destructive and harmful effects of global warming. Since Afghanistan has seasonal rains, its climate is favorable for the growth of forests. Through your website, I ask the donor countries and aid organizations to expand their activities in this field and take practical and permanent measures toward the prosperity of Afghanistan's economy. Thank you for posting this promising news.


This is commendable. I was pleased about it. In the eastern part of the city of Kabul, such pits were dug on the side of the hills, but I don't know if they were dug only to collect the rainwater so that the water level of the city would be regulated or if the trees would also be cultivated there. This useful program in Kunduz is big news for happiness. Such projects not only fill people's stomachs for two months but also make the area green for two decades and even more decades and, as mentioned in your report, prevent soil degradation. We sincerely thank Salam Times, Swedish Committee, and UNDP for providing money for such projects, implementing them, and informing Afghans about such developments. Long live Afghanistan. Long live Afghanistan's friendship with the world.