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03/26/2009

Apples of Balochistan

090326_apple_4   The sweeping valley of Ziarat district in southwest Pakistan, hit last year in October by a powerful earthquake, is famous for its Cherry and Apple production. All the orchards filled with golden and green apples.

  But the 6.4-magnitude tremor that destroyed homes and killed up to 300 people also felled many trees, robbing local apple industry workers of their livelihoods at a time when the sought-after crop was nearly ripe for harvest.

  Ziarat region is the largest apple and Cherry producer in Pakistan. It is the biggest source of income of the local people for the whole year.090326_apple_farms_2 

  Farm owners are hiring local poor people as a labor for those farms; most of those labors are JEN beneficiaries. They are working in the farms through out the year for different purposes. In January, they plough the fields. In February and March, they are spreading locally prepared animal dung in the farms as a urea.

  This process continues until the blossoms appear in the trees. The farmers are saying that, this is the most difficult stage for them. They are praying for the good weather. If it will be raining heavily and windy, it will break the blossoms, if there is no rain and a little rain, it also causes problem for the upcoming crops. There is always been shortage of water in Balochistan. The farming totally depends on the rain water. If there is no rain, it means the water will be short in the locally made dams. Once the blossoms will changed into fruits, the labors regularly put some chemical spray on the apples.

  When the apples are ready in the month of August, they are plucking it from the trees and packing it in the wooden cartons. Another team of labor is loading it in the in the trucks. This plucking, packing and loading process is continuing until December.

  Pakistan is one of the largest apple producing countries in the world and production of Apples in Balochistan covers 70% of the whole production of Pakistan. District Ziarat and District Pishin are the main areas of this production.

090326_apple_farms_1_3   The earthquake has destroyed many orchards in the affected region and rendered many people jobless and deprived their owners of their earnings. All the organizations worked hard to provide the basic necessary items to the affected population, but it will take time to gain, what they have lost.

March 26, 2009 in Pakistan |