Carbon Clean Trees in Tajikistan
For Maryam Jurakulova, who lives in the village of Khajabulbulon on the border with Uzbekistan, the fruit tree seedlings she and her family received from WFP will put food on the table in summer and preserves in the winter. Any fruit left over will be taken to the Friday market and sold.
WFP staff member Azam Bahorov explains to Shodmon Bobomurodov why each tree seedling needs a circumference of 130 cm to grow. Shodmon's family received 40 trees that will give the family fruit and some cash when they mature in three years.
With training from the Tajikistan Forestry Department, families in the village of Marghzor learned a simple but effective watering system: each sapling is strapped to an empty cooking oil container, which is pierced at the bottom and filled with water. The method reduces vapor loss and irrigates the tree gradually, helping to keep the earth moist.
Salamat Haituev is proud of her 43 fruit trees and five pine trees and looks forward to the day when they will bear fruit every summer. She is very diligent in watering and protecting the "baby trees" because without WFP, her family could never afford to buy them at the market.
Emom Pirov, the head of Marghzor village, works for the Forestry Department and brings his extensive knowledge of tree cultivation to the poor families selected for the project. Here he demonstrates how a straw carpet around a baby pine tree keeps the soil moist under the hot Central Asian sun.
Fakhruddin Haituev, 20, prunes the apricot trees in the family plot to ensure that as much water as possible goes into the small, delicate roots. It takes two months for a tree seedling to establish itself in the new environment and become resistant to severe weather.
WFP staff member Azam Bahorov shows Fakhruddin that even though the branches of the pomegranate are grey-brown, the interior is green and fresh. The first few months after a tree is planted are the most critical, because the seedlings need constant care to survive and grow.
A Tajiki family has planted their pine tree in a shallow pit, because the soil in their garden is stony. The tree's roots will have an easier time taking holding in the soft soil underneath.
WFP staff member Asal Esfahani and village head Emom Pirov examine a plot where pistacchio tree seeds are planted. The pistacchio plots, high on the mountainside, are cultivated by 25 families, who travel the eight kilometers from their village by donkey. Up here, the trees can survive on rain water alone once they are established.
Rajal Pirov, a Forestry Department ranger, has been assigned to surveil the pistacchio plantation and keep the embryonic trees from being eaten by crows or hedgehogs. The Forestry Department is leasing the one-hectare plots to participating families for 20 years at US $1 a year.
WFP Tajikistan has launched the country's largest tree-planting project with a US $100,000 donation designed to offset the organization's carbon footprint there. The project will begin bearing fruit when the nearly 40,000 seedlings begin producing almonds, apricots, grapes, cherries, mulberries and pomegranates over the next three years.