By Wazir Khurram Ali Parvi
Saspolo, an apple species, gets its name from Saspol, a village located in Kargil, a region controlled by India.
The environment and soil of Kharmang pari (Saspolo valley) have proven to be suitable for the apple. Although many growers tried to plant Saspolo in their regions within Baltistan, but the Kharmang Pari proved to be the most suitable place.
There are three more species of apple grown in Pari, namely Samarqand, Naskhusho and Wardgaff, but due to the better taste and fragrance, Saspolo has become a favorite. The apple is also dried and the paste is used for medicinal purposes by the locals, in addition of being a cash crop.
The villagers send Saspolo as a prized gift to their relatives and friends settled in different parts of Pakistan. Popularity of Saspolo has, thus, spread far and wide and it has become to define the valley.
Ghulam Muhammed Parvi, a resident of Tholwis Pari, had taken the initial steps to introduce the apple in the valley. He also used fruit markets and exhibitions to popularize Saspolo.
Recently the Agriculture Department of Kharmang has also decided to launch an annual “ Saspolo festival”, to market the product.
The second saspolo festival is going to start in the next three or four months, depending on the CoVID-19 situation. The locals need to build a strategy to market the product in an effective and efficient way, to help the farmers.
Saspolo is a god-sent gift for the area, and it can play an important role in the region’s development, if managed properly.