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Northern Afghan province revives pistachio forests

KABUL, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Afghanistan's agriculture ministry has begun the revival of pistachio forests in the country as it kicked off the plantation of thousands of saplings in northern Samangan province, the state-run news agency Bakhtar reported Tuesday.

The move is part of a plan to revive the pistachio forests in the war-torn and mountainous country, where seasonal rains are enough to feed them, the news agency added.

"Up to 100,000 pistachio bushes, costing 48 million afghanis (551,406 U.S. dollars) would be planted all over the mountains and hills of Aybak city, the provincial capital of Samangan province in the first phase," Bakhtar said in its report.

The project is said to help at least 1,000 people access direct jobs for six months in the province, according to the news agency.

Afghanistan's agriculture ministry has earlier kicked off the cultivation of thousands of pistachio saplings in Samangan's neighboring Sari Pul and the western Badghis provinces as part of its efforts to boost pistachio forests in the land-locked country.

In the mountainous country, many provinces, such as Samangan, Sari Pul, Badghis, Jawzjan, and Badakhshan, have proper hilltops and environment for growing pistachio and pine nuts. (1 U.S. dollar equals 88 afghanis)