Chitral agriculture department criticised for inactivity

Published on: 23/11/2018 | Comments: No comments 

CHITRAL: The local farmers have resented the agriculture department?s decision of not holding the annual exhibition of agricultural products in the district and said the event had been taking place for many years.

Akhunzada Rahmatullah, president of the organisation of local farmers, told Dawn that almost 95 per cent of the households derived a portion of their sustenance from agriculture in one way or the other but the response of the government was halfhearted towards the sector?s development.

He said putting an end to the holding of an annual exhibition of agricultural products for the farmers for the last 22 years was an example of the indifferent attitude of the government though it was a source of promoting farming as profession in Chitral for being an annual congregation of farmers.

?The farmers coming from different valleys of Chitral used to share their experience with each other on the occasion and thus, improving agricultural produce and growing new crop varieties,? he said.

Mr Rahmatullah said the spirit of competition to gain rewards and prominence encouraged farmers to adopt different methods of farming and to take special care of vegetables and fruits and thus, improving agriculture sector overall.

?The history of agricultural exhibition dates back to 1940s when the rulers of Chitral used to arrange the exhibition of fruits and vegetables and rewarded the winners with lands,? he said.

When contacted, an official of the agriculture department acknowledged that the agricultural exhibition helped promote farming by encouraging farmers.

He however insisted that the shortage of funds stopped the department from holding the event. The official said a large sum of money was required to hold the exhibition, which the cash-starved department didn?t have.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2018

Changing climate adversely impacts agriculture in Chitral

Published on: 03/05/2018 | Comments: No comments 

The dry spell this year has badly impacted the small scale subsistence farming in Chitral. More than 90 percent population of Chitral relies on subsistence farming which hardly fulfils their half year food requirements.

This year, surprisingly, snowfall in winter and spring rainfall was scanty. The growth of main crop-wheat , and water needed for healthy growth of plants, in almost all areas of Chitral, has been abysmally ba?More fearful was , and is, the condition in areas where crops ( wheat) depend on rainfall have dried out , and where water supply is scarce are also facing crop watering woes so badly.

Reportedly wheat crops have been prematurely harvested in Orghoch, Broz, and some parts of Mulkhow, and village Parwark , according to a report, also faces water shortage for watering crops, and for drinking. There may be other areas, in Chitral, have water shortage for both drinking and watering crops may aggravate with increasing temperature particularly in the month of June, July and August this year.

According to a report, this year, temperature may likely increase 1 Celsius in Pakistan, and April’s highest temperature recorded in Nawabshah, clearly indicates this change. Dealing with the water woes in Chitral is only possible when provincial government taking Civil Society Organizations on board to pump up river water for crops by using solar energy. In some parts of Chitral solar energy-powered systems are being installed pumping river water. The network of solar energy-powered installations can be environment friendly, and cheap source of energy for lifting water for the areas which are heavily prone to this year’s dry spell. .. Alhaj Muhammad Khan, (F.B) 03 Apr 2018