The Himachal Pradesh government would promote cultivation of sea buckthorn and chilgoza in tribal districts of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur for income generation and providing livelihood support to the tribal people.
The Society for Improvement of Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihood would provide financial assistance, technical support for cultivation of sea buckthorn and chilgoza (both wild produce) in a systematic and commercial way.
Many tribal people in Kinnaur district have been collecting chilgoza grown wildly – a dry fruit fetching good money in the market. Similarly, sea buckthorn is also being promoted in tribal areas, especially Spiti region, known as the cold desert of the state due to harsh winters and heavy snow. This wild produce is also in demand in the international market for its medicinal properties, besides popularity of its juice as a health drink.
The promotion of livelihood supporting activities in both the tribal districts is quite significant as many areas of the districts remain inaccessible and snowbound for many months restricting income generation activities of the farmers.
The society would help people of these areas in a big way as it is implementing an agency for Indo- Japanese cooperation project for “Improvement of Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystems Management and Livelihoods” with funding of Rs 800 crores from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) .
The emphasis for cultivation of the wild produce in both the tribal districts has been laid by Chairman – cum Additional Chief Secretary Forest R D Dhiman in the meeting of the society.
To promote cultivation of both the wild produce a need was stressed on developing nurseries and propagating cultivation sea buckthorn among farmers in Spiti area. A processing unit should also be set up in the area. Similarly, commercial cultivation of chilgoza is to be promoted in Kinnaur district.
Chief Project Director cum Member-Secretary Nagesh Kumar Guleria telling about other activities being carried under the project to support livelihood said , “ it has been decided to support village forest development committees, self help groups and common interest groups by providing financial assistance to start on-farm and off-farm activities in many regions of the state .”