MINGORA: The dreams of a local farmer came true when the pomegranates orchards started bearing fruit after hard work of four years.
The pomegranate introduced in Swat was named the ‘Anari Saleh.’
Muhammad Pervez, a farmer from Nawakali in Barikot tehsil, is the pioneer of growing this type of pomegranates in Swat.
He told The News that he imported the seed from Turkey and the first pomegranates orchard was set up at Nawakali.
“I have three kanals land for this orchard,” he added.
“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 here,” he said, adding that he was not sure about the future of pomegranate in Swat but after four years, he was happy that the pomegranates of his orchard were very sweet and delicious.
“I am also working on another orchard in the same vicinity after successful experiment,” he said and added the new orchard was spread over 20 kanals.
He said that he transferred his knowledge to his sons who were also working with him.
Zahid Khan, another farmer, told this scribe that he was encouraged after the successful experiment by Muhammad Pervez and he was now working on his own orchard.
“I am growing 300 trees. I hope the trees will bear fruit next year,” said Khan and added that he worked for 30 years in Abu Dhabi, but now he has decided to do farming in this village.
Yaqoob Khan, 25-year old son of Muhammad Pervez, said that pomegranates of Swat were in great demand in the country.
He added that they were supplying pomegranates to the fruit markets in Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi.
“We earned Rs1 million last year and hope to earn more this year,” said Yaqoob Khan. He added that he had acquired some land in Upper Dir to plant pomegranates.
Another local farmer, Inamullah, said that shelf life of pomegranates was longer than all other fruit including peaches, apples and apricots.
He said that planting pomegranates required less labour and expenses and its earning is four to five times higher than other fruits.
“Our pomegranates have high market value and are sold at Rs350 per kilogram owing to its size, colour and taste,” he added.
Fazal Maula Zahid, vegetables and fruit expert, asked the government to facilitate and guide the local farmers.
He said that Swat valley was ideal for growing fruit. “Owing to its long shelf life and quality, pomegranates can be exported to earn revenue,” Fazal Maula Zahid added.