LAHORE - More than 1500 women and men are trained under five value chains of green businesses including wild mushrooms, seashell embellishments, jewelry making, green mussels farming and turkey in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Dr. Amena Hasan, Chief Executive Officer of Business for Social Progress, said this while addressing a launching ceremony of “Green Business Incubator” here.

She shared details about the work done under Green Decent Jobs for Socio-economic Empowerment Project (GDJ4SEEP) with support from International Labor Organization and Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada.

Under the project work is done to establish SOPs for 5 value chains of green businesses that included wild mushrooms, seashell embellishments, jewelry making, green mussels farming, and turkey farming, she said.

“More than 1500 women and men are trained under different value chains in KPK, Baluchistan and Gilgit-Baltistan,” she said, adding “it is extremely important to provide sustainable market access to the communities involved in sustainable harvesting of natural ingredients and this will be ensured through the first ethical brand of natural ingredients ‘Forest Picks.’”

Amena Hasan said the ‘Forest Picks’ aims to offer high value organic and wild harvested products hand-picked from the remote and isolated pristine valleys of northern Pakistan and virgin deserts in the south of the country.

Munawar Sultana, Senior Programme Officer and Officer-in-Charge for the GE4DE project, at International Labor Organization, appreciated the hard work carried out by the team of Business for Social Progress and making it possible to launch “Forest Picks” the first ethical brand of natural products from Pakistan.

She said the ILO sees green jobs as central to sustainable development and we are mandated to help Pakistan shift into a low carbon and sustainable society. 

Since most of the economic activities, Pakistani women are involved in, mainly depend on natural resources and hence they are the direct beneficiaries or vice versa of any transformation in the environment. She wished both of these initiatives “Forest Picks” and “Green Business Incubator” to grow and contribute in bringing prosperity for the women and men of Pakistan.

Syed Mehmood Nasir, Inspector General of Forests, praised the hard work of the BSP and emphasized the steps taken by the organisation for promoting the green and ethical business practices.

He said there is a lot of work that needs to be done in this area and the government is always happy to extend guidance and support to such initiatives which work for the conservation of forest and other natural resources.

“The world over non-timber forest products are being promoted to provide alternative livelihood to communities largely exploiting forest for timber,” he said.