Government urged to declare fishing culture an industry

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PESHAWAR: The Kota region in the Barikot tehsil of Swat district has been known to produce the best quality peaches since the year 2015 but the authorities concerned have ignored this sector, which could generate huge incomes and employ thousands of people people.

“Currently the locals produce peaches on about 6,000 acres of land and have also employed 50,000 workers, but they are facing problems due to government indifference,” said a lawyer for local landowner Ziyad Khan.

During a visit to flood-affected areas and seven tehsils in Swat, including Babuzai, Matta, Khwazakhela, Barikot, Kabal, Charbagh and Bahrain, representatives of the Garden Development Organization urged the government to declare their peach-growing activity an industry. and take concrete steps to promote it.

A retired deputy director of the Fruit and Vegetable Development Board, Salim Khan, said farmers were getting water for the gardens through tube wells, but the water level had gone down, especially near the mountains. A number of diseases, high prices for fertilizers, seeds, drugs, etc., have increased the financial burden on farmers and the government has made no provision to overcome their problems.

Rising drug prices and decreasing consumer capacity were affecting their business. “We buy different sizes of cartons for peaches for transport. We had bought these cartons at around Rs40 to Rs45 but now its prices have dropped from Rs68 to Rs64,” Amjad Khan said.

Arshad Khan, who owns a market in Islamabad, said that due to the increase in the prices of petroleum products, the rent for a truck has risen from Rs45,000 to Rs90,000 while the same is true for commission agents, Arthis and other required Personnel.

The unavailability of any proper storage in Islamabad and markets in other major cities has also destroyed the produce, he said, adding that the authorities need to build proper storage, which could save the fruits in winter and in summer.

Bakht Rawan Khan and Mohammad Salim complained that there were no arrangements for mobile parcels like those made for the protection of kino, mango, etc., while the roads from farm to market n don’t exist either.

“There is no processing industry in all of Swat. Rising electricity bills, unaffordable surcharges and different types of taxes have made life miserable for farmers,” Ziyad Khan said, suggesting the government establish storage systems that meet international standards.

Our monthly bills as well as DEP and spray prices have almost quadrupled. The prices of each item have risen considerably and the purchasing power of consumers has diminished. Who can buy peaches in these floods, rains and destruction,” said Salim Khan.

They said the government could earn more revenue and create jobs by upgrading their products as an industry and making proper arrangements for the export of peaches like mangoes and oranges. Various companies, which sold pesticides for billions of rupees a year, also failed to take action to improve the region and the farmers.

They said the Swat River had become a source of destruction for them, but the government could make it beneficial for the people by removing channels from it, such as the Baydarra Canal in the Matta region.

They said that the chief minister is from Matta, that’s why he made the river useful to the locals. Such canals, they said, were the need of the hour and could not only save water but also save people from destruction.

They said that the government was focusing on the cement industry, tourism, etc., but ignoring the peace growers who employed laborers to collect, pack, load, unload the fruits onto trucks. , and also paid commissions and taxes to agents and others in the markets.

“The income from my own garden in the previous year was 5 million rupees, but the expenses this year reached 2.5 million rupees, which reduced my income by almost 50% this year,” said a producer.

Regarding government announcements for farmers, he said nothing practical has been done for them so far. This could be judged by the fact that the farmers were charged for the repair work in case a fault occurred in the electric transformer, he said.

Another farmer showed his monthly electricity bill saying his real bill was Rs 5,740 but with the additional taxes he was charged Rs 37,861. He alleged that farmers were overburdened for electricity supply.

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