Asthe strawberry season comes close, farmers in Dir are all set to cultivate thebright red fruit in a quantity of millions for you to devour on.
Ushirai Dara, a sub-valley situated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’sDir, is known for cultivating the best produce of strawberries. Every year,millions of strawberry crops are planted by farmers there.
According to experts, the soil and climate of thevalley is ideal for the growth and cultivation of strawberries.
The people of the scenic valley generate most of theirincomes from tourism and agriculture, and strawberries contribute immensely to it.
It started five years ago when 60 local women weretrained to cultivate strawberries, said a resident. Today, nurseries withmillions of strawberry crops are spread over 1500-acre land, making farmersearn big profits.
“The plantation started in 2014,” said a farmer. “Wewere trained by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme which benefitted a lot offarmers and landowners.”
Last year, a huge amount of the fruit was cultivatedbut wasn’t sold which resulted in losses to the farmers.
The farmers have said that they work very hard buttheir efforts are mostly neglected by the government.
“We have a lot of produce, but we don't have anysupport from the government in anyway,” complained a farmer.
If the government and the agriculture departmentsupport us, it will create employment for a lot of people in the region and increaseincomes of many, he added.
Strawberries in Pakistan are grown in mid-October and are usually ready for harvest by January and February. They hit the markets in March and April.