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    Bumper produce of apple affected by scanty rainfall

    By Zahiruddin

    CHITRAL: The bumper produce of apple in some of the apple producing villages of upper Chitral has been adversely affected by the scanty rainfall of the year during the  last winter season during which the valley received very small snowfall leading to drought-like situation.

    Some of the villages of Chitral namely Karimabad,  Booni, Brep and Terich are known for the local species of apples named Chopush and famous for its fragrance, taste and delicacy which the farmers grew in large orchards and large quantity of the fruit is harvested in the month of September.

    The merchants of the fruit in Chitral bazaar said that the sparse rainfall in the last winter as well as spring seasons greatly affected both the volume of yield and the quality of apple in terms of size, flavor and aroma it used to characterize with.

    One Niaz Ahmed, a fruit merchant in Chitral, told Chitral Times that most of the apple orchards in the villages of Booni, Brep and Yarkhoon he visited were found nearly empty of the fruits while the ones bearing with fruits were of inferior quality than the previous years.

    He said that most of his fellow merchants came back without purchasing apple fruits from Brep and Booni due to poor quality and quantity but he managed a number of loads of jeep which amounted to less than one-fourth of the amount he purchased last year.

    “The shortage of the fruit has caused escalation of its price and the farmers were free to exploit the buyers this year by fixing the prices exorbitantly”, he said adding that the species has registered an abnormal rise in price resultantly.

    The drop in the product of the apple has also left a large number of unemployed youth who used to embark upon micro level business of apple and transported the apples from the apple orchards to the market to sell them on retail.

    The educated but unemployed youth used the bumper product of apple as source of self-employment and were seen in every nook and corner of the city doing a roaring business of the fruit but this year hardly any such young man is found.

    Shafiq Ahmed, holding a university degree in agriculture, said that last year he earned a pretty amount of profit by selling the local species of apple with the help of his two class-fellows as his partners.

    “I marketed the apple in the bazaar, the second fellow transported it from the orchards to the market and the third one stationed in the apple producing villages to purchase and packing the fruit till the end of the season”, he said adding that this year we could not start it due to low product.

    An agriculturist employed with a NGO Wiqar Ahmed confirmed that insufficient rainfall and snow did affect both the productivity and quality of the fruit as it required a higher quantity of water and consistent moisture in different stages especially in the early stages of making buds to the blooming and post-blooming and its development into fruit.

    He said that the hilly areas are suitable for apple due to the snowfall in the winter season and then extensive rainfall in the spring season providing the plant with required amount of water and moisture for early stage development and nourishment and is natural that the fruit is adversely affected this year.


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