MEKRAN division of Balochistan consists of three districts: Turbat (Kech), Panjgur and Gwadar.
Among these districts, the district of Turbat and the district of Panjgur are rich in date production.
The source of income in Mekran is date farming. During summer the date is ripe and it is collected in gardens and sold at different prices.
In Balochistan 60 kinds of dates are found, among which the Mozathi is famous because of its rich taste and colour. It is bigger than the other dates.
However, it is an irony that there is no date processing plant. Almost 70 per cent of dates get spoiled in gardens due to torrential rains. As a result, the date crop is not marketed properly.
Farmers collect ripe dates, pack these and store them in their gardens and wait for dealers to access them. The date dealers set their own prices while the poor farmers, being oblivious of the real market value, sell their dates to dealers at throwaway prices. From there date is shifted to the international market.
The government must establish date factories so that this precious fruit is procured and marketed well. Establishing date factories not only protects the date but it will also create plenty of jobs for the people of the area.
MUHAMMAD BAKHSH BALOCH Turbat