MINGORA: After a four-year-long struggle, the dreams and hard work of a farmer in Swat have started to bear fruit.
Muhammad Pervez, a farmer from Nawakali in Barikot tehsil, who set up the first pomegranate orchard in Swat is hopeful to double his profits from the sale of the fruit this season.
Speaking to Geo.tv, Pervez shared that he imported seeds from Turkey to set up the pomegranate orchard which spans on three kanals of land.
The pomegranates from the orchard have been named ‘Anari Saleh’ and are said to be “very sweet and delicious”..
Sharing why he decided to grow pomegranates, Pervez said, “Four years ago, I decided to grow pomegranates on my land because I wanted a change as peach, plum, apricot and other fruits are common in the area.”
The farmer said he was “not too sure” whether pomegranates would grow in Swat but he is happy with the results.
Following the success of his experiment, Pervez said he is now “working on another orchard in the same vicinity” which will span on 20 kanals of land.
Pervez’s two sons are also working with him and his 25-year-old son, Yaqoob Khan, shared that pomegranates from Swat are in high demand across the country.
“We are supplying pomegranates to fruit markets in Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and other major cities,” the 25-year-old said.
“We earned Rs1 million last year and hope to earn more this year,” he added.
Yaqoob further shared that they have also acquired some land in Upper Dir and will soon grow pomegranates there as well.
Pervez has also inspired several in the area who are taking on similar projects.
Zahid Khan, who worked for 30 years in Abu Dhabi but is back in his village and working as a farmer, told Geo.tv that he is working on his own orchard after seeing Pervez’s success.
“I am growing 300 trees and hope that they will bear fruits next year,” Zahid said.
Another local farmer, Inam Ullah, said that the shelf life of pomegranates is longer than other fruits, including peaches, apples and apricots.
“Planting pomegranates requires less labour and other expenses and the earnings from their sale is four to five times higher than other fruits,” he added.
“Our pomegranates have high market value and are sold at Rs350 per kilogramme owing to their size, colour and taste,” Inam Ullah continued.
Meanwhile, Fazal Maula Zahid, vegetables and fruits expert, asked the government to facilitate and guide the farmers of the area.
“Swat valley is ideal for growing various fruits. Pomegranates and owing to their long shelf life and quality can be exported to earn revenue for the country,” Fazal Maula Zahid added.