CHITRAL: To streamline agriculture sector on modern lines and increase income of the farmers, a project has been worked out and sent to the authorities by the agriculture department.
Shehzad Ayub, the agriculture officer, said the project would cost Rs202 million. He said situated in the temperate zone, Chitral was best for the production of different kinds of fruits. “Many of these fruits can be easily developed to export quality but the existing position is too dismal for description,” he added.
Mr Ayub said obsolete and centuries-old farming techniques were in use in Chitral and farmers got little yield as they lacked knowledge in different fields including planting, cultivation and marketing.
“At first, the outlook of the farmers towards agriculture needs to be changed. They should be convinced that the farming can be developed to a fully-fledged profession by which they can earn substantial amount o satiate their needs in the broad spectrum of life.”
Mr Ayub said establishment of new fruit orchards and improvement of existing ones, provision of spray pumps and pruning tool kits, establishment of vegetable plots, training of farmers in production technologies and their exposure visit to the other districts and provinces are some of the major features of the proposed project.
He said that there were many valleys in the district where potato was being cultivated at commercial scale but the practice was not imitated in other areas.
“Under the project, experimentation of cereal crops and fruits will be carried out in different climatic zones of the district in which it is divided because a great degree of variation of altitude is found where the southernmost village Arandu is 1,073 feet above sea level but the altitude of Baroghil in the northernmost corner is 12,461 feet,” he said.
All the 36 valleys of Chitral have their own geographical peculiarities suited for different crops and fruits. Once the specialty of an area is assessed in practical terms, the farmers will switch over to the particular types of crops in the given area. There is shortage of irrigation water in different areas of Chitral.
Special varieties requiring less moisture and greater endurance can be found and introduced in such areas.
“There are several areas where off-season vegetable production is possible in natural condition. It will save the local people from the high costs of vegetable, which are brought from the down districts of the country.”
He said at the end of the project, per acre yield would register a tangible rise and the income of farmers would be increased.–Zahiruddin (Dawn).