Linking growers with corporate buyers
By Tahir Ali Khan
Initiatives to improve horticulture output and marketing
links of local farmers with local and foreign firms have
been launched in Malakand division under the provincial
reconstruction, rehabilitation and settlement programme.
The area, especially Swat, produces quality vegetables and
fruits. It accounts for 34 per cent of plums, 95 per cent of
walnuts and 82 per cent of provincial apple yield.
It also accounts for 64 and over 50 per cent of the
provincial production of vegetables and fruits respectively.
But farmers do not fully benefit from their crops for lack
of finances, expertise and marketing linkages.
Shakil Qadir Khan, Director General of Parrsa, said his
organisation was trying to help improve quality and value
addition, standardise packaging and create modern marketing
practices for the produce.
“We are not only providing advice, cash and in kind support
to develop quality of indigenous fruits and vegetables but
also helping growers find new markets for their products by
creating liaison between them and local and multinational
companies,” he said.
Citing another intervention, he said, Swat produced
approximately 60 tons of trout fish in its 22 farms which
was mostly consumed locally. Last July`s floods ravaged most
of these hatcheries.
“Parrsa plans to provide marketing support to fish
hatcheries to sell their produce to big food-chain
restaurants both within and without the country. Trout
decomposes fast when taken out of water. However, there are
means to keep the fish fresh and transport it to farthest
areas without fear of decomposition. Using the required
technology and giving a new brand name like Swat/Kalam trout
to the species in the market, the number of hatcheries in
Swat could be increased to 200 in a year`s time,” he hoped.
In the first phase, Parrsa would arrange for the technology
and provide information and financial support to fish
farmers. “Later they would manage it themselves. If farmers
are introduced to new technology, services and strategies
and they know their utility, they would manage it next year
Courtesy: The DAWN