QUETTA - Chief Executive Officer Harvest Tradings Ahmad Jawad said Balochistan produces nearly one million tonnes of fruits annually with 90 per cent of grapes, cherry, almonds; 60 per cent of peach, pomegranate, apricot; 34 per cent of apples, and 403,584 tonnes dates.

Talking with Quetta Women Chamber of Commerce’s founder president Fehmida Jamali; he said Balochistan has tremendous potential for developing fruit farms. He said serious efforts should be made towards bringing about a shift from traditional to technology-based farming, as various studies reveal that a large number of fruits are lost due to various reasons beginning from their production points till they reach the costumer.

Fehmida said local farmers are faced with a plethora of problems from planting to the marketing of their products as they lack essential facilities and infrastructure to market their products and earn profits.

Moreover, the absence of cold storages and air-conditioned transportation facilities for fruits like grapes also increase the risks of damage to fruits. Soil test also needs to be conducted on regular basis at the time of planting a fruit crop.

For instance, planting season for apple crop in Northern Balochistan commences from February 15 to March 15. There is also a need to ensure supply of fertilizers to the fruit growers at subsidized rates.”

“What is direly needed is to enable the farmers to sell their produce directly eliminating the role of middlemen in the marketing channel,” Jawad said.

Jawad further suggested that the government should provide relief to the local growers; All efforts are needed to be directed for bringing about a shift from traditional to a technology-based farming system; he added.

Fehmida Jamali requested government that they should extend credit to small farmers especially women, for horticulture and empowering the women development sector; as lack of finance does not enable the cash-starved small farmers to harvest and market their fruit crop.