PESHAWAR: The students of the Government Girls High School and Iqra School, Abbottabad, were taken to the National Tea and High Value Crops Research Institute, Shinkiari, Mansehra, as part of the initiative by the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) and the Tech Valley to promote agriculture tourism in the province.

The activity was meant to explore economic opportunities and better livelihood for the local communities and educate them on agritourism, particularly kitchen gardening and traditional farming techniques, said a TCKP news release issued here on Thursday.

Dr Farrukh Siyar Hamid, director at the National Tea and High Value Crops Research Institute, briefed the students about tea and kitchen gardening and traditional farming techniques.

He said the institute would facilitate students and visitors in many ways.

“The institute is carrying out research on various kinds of tea, which will generate revenue and save foreign exchange being spent on import of tea, fruit and other commodities,” he said.

The director said the activity would help promote women entrepreneurship, agricultural tourism, kitchen gardening, set up a local farmers market, study tours to create awareness about agritourism among local communities.

He said the TCKP-Tech Valley initiative would also help enhance public-private cooperation and develop the tourism and hospitality industry in KP and elsewhere in Pakistan.

Later, the students visited tea, vegetable and fruit gardens and learned about the plants and herbs grown there.

TCKP managing director Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said it would be an excellent opportunity for KP’s youths to experience and learn about a lifestyle that was quite different than their own.

He said agritourism was a worldwide trend, which offered the city’s residents a chance to escape noise and air polluted urban areas and suffocative environment and re-discover their rural roots.

The official said agritourism was becoming an important activity to develop opportunities as more people had moved to cities and had lost their connection to the areas where agriculture prevailed.

Founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Tech Valley Umar Farooq said the agritourism included a set of economic and social activities that occurred and linked travel with the products, services and experiences of agriculture lands.

He said youths could observe the local cultures, traditions, hospitality and start thinking about the future business opportunities as well.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2018

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