PESHAWAR - The Khyber Pakthunkhwa Government has embarked on an inclusive plan to raise fruits and vegetables on 18000 acres land in different districts besides establishing central markets to provide these commodities to people at affordable rates.

“The plan to raise fruits and vegetables on 18000 acres besides setting up of nine state-of-the art central markets in all seven divisions of KP was developed in PTI Govt’S first 100 days plans and these targets would be achieved during next five years, Murad Ali, Deputy Director, Planning Agriculture Department told APP on Sunday.

He said nine central fruits and vegetables markets would be setup in Swat, Mardan, Abbottabad, Kohat, Bannu, DI Khan and Peshawar and practical work on it will start this year, he said.

“All small markets established at parts of the divisional headquarters would be shifted to the central markets where all fruits and vegetable commodities would be sold at Government’s prescribed rate,” he aid.

Fruits and vegetables services would also be provided to nearby districts from these markets to cater people’s growing demands for fresh items.

Farmers would be provided special incentives for purchase new approved seeds, fertilizers and technical advises in the wake of challenges posed by climate change.

Special training would be given to farmers and fruits growers under Inspects Pests Management (IPM) programme to protect crops from insects attack and other seasonal diseases.

Govt would also help farmers in marketing of their produces at local, provincial and international markets to get maximum profits.

“The role of middle man would be discouraged by holding mobile fruits and vegetable markets during peak seasons,” the official said.

“The farmers usually did not get better prices for their agriculture produce due to lack of availability of proper markets and information about suitable markets besides technical knowhow,” he said.

He said nine new varieties of seeds of crops, vegetables and fruits were introduced by the Agriculture Department to increase per acre’s production.

These new varieties would help farmers to deal with issues in wake of climate change challenges and that seeds of new varieties would be given to farmers at affordable rate.

Moreover, Govt would register all major and minor agriculture, fruits and vegetable markets in the province and under first phase this process will start from Peshawar this year.

Govt would also focus on capacity building of farmers by holding seminars, field days and training programs from time to time in all cities of the province. Programs for exports oriented production of agriculture commodities would be launched besides dissemination of market information to farmers through ICT.

Production of documentaries for farmers on value chain and value addition and print material for farmers’ awareness on market was also planned. The incentive farmers will get extra profit up to 15 pc through implementation of market regulations and construction of proper markets facilities in the province.