PT Report | Photographs: Didar Ali (DeeJayPhotograph)
Hunza, November 6: Gilgit-Baltistan, despite of its limited agricultural land, produces tasty, colorful and fragrant fruits, including apricots, apples, peach, walnut, cherry and pomegranate, to name a few. Due to lack of business understanding and absence of enabling factors, a vast amount of the fruits get wasted.
According to a 2007 Survey conducted by the Department of Agriculture, around the most vastly produced fruit of Gilgit-Baltistan is apricot (66%) , followed by Apples, accounting for almost 12 % of the total fruit production pie. The agriculture department estimates that around out of around 19,000 MT of apples is produced in all parts of GB, of which around 3950 MT get wasted.
A large produce of apple gets wasted because of insufficient storing arrangements, as well as due to various diseases and lack of incentive for the farmers. Very few farmers produce apples for the markets. Access to markets remains a huge challenge due to difficult terrains, as well as due to long and repeated closure of roads due to natural and human induced disasters.
With a little serious attention on production, marketing and supply management of fruits, especially the highly nutritious apples, the administration and government of Gilgit-Baltistan can help the farmers create new economic opportunities for themselves within the region.