MINGORA, July 14: Swat district is the largest producer of different varieties of peach in the country where farmers have been growing almost all types of peaches.
The Gulf countries are the potential market for these peaches and local farmers feel the need for export policy at government level to streamline export of peach.
Swat Fruits and Vegetables Association president Rahmat Ali told Dawn that all types of peaches were produced in Swat. He said that over 1.5 million kilogrammes of peaches were being supplied each day from upper Swat in about 200 trucks and a similar quantity of peaches from lower Swat to different parts of the country.
He said that these days peach type-5 was being harvested in different areas of Swat district. The peach season usually starts in May and continues till the first week of September.
Mr Rahmat said that they were supplying peach to Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Islamabad and Karachi. Besides, Peshawar was also a big market for peach, from where the fruit was exported to Afghanistan in a large quantity.
Answering a question, he said that there was a big demand for peach fruit from the Gulf countries, but unfortunately there was no proper export policy at government level to export peach and other fruits produced in different parts of Pakistan.
For instance in year 2000 India was charging Rs12 per kg cargo being shifted to Saudi Arabia, while Pakistan was charging Rs24 per kg for the same, he said and demanded that the government should facilitate the farmers as Pakistan’s economy was dependent on agricultural growth.
A farmer and exporter, Khurshid Ali, said that all the 12 types of peaches were produced in Swat. He said that from Landaki, the entrance point of Swat district, to Manglawar area, gardens of peaches have been set up in a large numbers. He said that owing to growing demand for the fruit most of the farmers in Matta sub-division had this time also grown peach instead of apple. Mr Ali said that 300 trees of peach could be grown over 20 kanals, adding that one tree could yield over 160 kilogrammes of peaches. He said that peach type-5 and type-8 were considered the most tasteful and therefore the farmers opted to grow these types on priority.
Another farmer from Sirteligram area of Manglawar locality, Bakht Sher Ali, said that peaches were produced more than any other crop in Swat.