KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Standing Committee on Horticulture and Agri Produce Chairman Ahmad Jawad has welcomed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to soon begin cargo flights from Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) to export the regional fruits.
Commenting on the PM’s speech in Gilgit on Tuesday, Jawad said that G-B economy depends largely on fruits and horticulture, which can be a source to earn billions. What is needed there is the establishment of proper infrastructure, he explained.
The harsh G-B weather makes it unsuitable for annual farming and it is only possible during summers and springs and that too for a short time, Jawad said.
“The most scrumptious fruits in GB include apricots, peaches, mulberries, apples, and honey-dew melons. Trees of almonds and walnuts also grow rapidly,” he added.
Apricot being the most popular in the region has various varieties, including Khalman, Kho, and Marghulam. Each type has its own specific characteristics. Continuous experimentation of new varieties is ongoing to produce more juicy, sweet and flavoured fruits.
Jawad further said G-B also grows dates, mango, plums, cherry, peaches, blue berries, water and honey melon. People of G-B don’t appreciate fertilisers and technology and prefer traditional farming, which is better health wise.
However, prospects for foreign investment are equally high and the investors could launch ventures in different sectors, he said. Meanwhile, JICA extended its firm commitment to fund value addition of apples and apricots. JICA also gave guidance to local farmers to increase the yield and quality as per international standards. “We must understand investment in G-B would not only be beneficial to that particular area but it will also help strengthen the economy of the country,” he remarked. - The News