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    Passive Solar Green House Farming to Raise the Living Standard of Farmers in Chitral

    Passive Solar Green House Farming to Raise the Living Standard of Farmers in Chitral

    CHITRAL: “It was inconceivable for me to grow vegetables here in Yarkhoon valley in the month of January when it receives snow and each drop of water gets frozen in the open air but now it has become a reality inside this glass house”, says Dhanak Bibi of Kurkun village of Yarkhun valley while harvesting spinach in her passive solar green house.

    For her, daily activities have changed in their nature and now she has no time to sit idle and have a gossip with her neighbors in the winter season because she spends most of her time in the green house from dawn to dusk.

    She is stronger financially than ever before as she earns a lot by selling the vegetables produced in the green house which is enough to supplement the income of her household and this earning continues during all the four seasons of the year.

    Her social status has also increased in the village as she receives respect from the villagers as she gives vegetables to the needy and the poor free of cost and also helps them from her kitty.

    She claimed that the living standard of her family has greatly improved and due to consuming vegetables profusely, the health condition of her family members of has also got better and that of her neighbors.

    The introduction of farming in passive solar green houses in the high-altitude valleys of Chitral including , Khot, Rech, Arkari and Garam Chashma has set to bring about a tangible change in the lives of the farmers who grew vegetables throughout the year and earned dividend by selling them.

    The beneficiaries of the green house farming said that due to the extreme climatic conditions the growing period of the valleys was confined to only three to four months of the year while a large number of vegetables needed high range of temperature for growth  and were not possible outside the green houses.

    Introduced by Aga Khan Rural Support Programme under its Central Asian Poverty Programme, the green house farming is gaining popularity in the valleys where it is being taken as an effective tool to alleviate poverty of the poor farmers.

    The farmers in the valleys of Rabat Khot, Shali Arkari, Kandujal and Nogh Pheti in Garam Chashma also expressed that after launching the green house farming, their household income has increased many times side by side ensuring the supply of fresh vegetables throughout the year to the villagers at cheaper rate.

    All the beneficiaries of the green house project said that the idea of establishing passive solar green house for farming purpose is gaining popularity in their respective villages where well-off farmers started establishing these by their own expenses.

    The whole arrangement of the green house consists of 35 by 16 feet room covered by glass sheets on the side facing the sunlight and plastic sheets on the other, a plastic coated wooden door on one side with a thick wall facing it which trapped the heat radiated by the sun rays during daytime thereby controlling the atmosphere inside.

    They said that the passive solar green houses were equally helpful in producing seedlings of different vegetables including tomato, onion, cabbage and others whose seeds were sown in the month of March while the seedlings were ready within ten days for transplantation.

    They also  said that the genre of nutrition has also changed and improved due to the growth of off-season vegetables which they consumed all year round while in the past, merely meat and milk products were the only components of their daily food which caused many complexities.


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