کالام میں سیاح دوستی

کالام میں سیاح دوست رویہ

طاہرعلی خان

http://www.humsub.com.pk/69143/tahir-ali-khan-5/

 3جولائی 2017 کو ہم سب پر وسی بابا کی تحریر‘‘شمال والو! بدتمیزی کا علاج بتاؤں؟’’ شایع ہوئی جس میں انہوں نے شمالی علاقہ جات کے مکینوں کو اپنی روایت کا تحفظ کرنے، جس سیاح کے خلاف بدتمیزی کا واقعہ رپورٹ ہو اس سے جرمانہ وصول کرنے اور دوبارہ مخصوص عرصے کے لیے اپنے علاقے میں گھسنے نہ  دینے کا مشورہ دیا ہے  اور امید ظاہر کی ہے کہ جب دو چار کو پانچ دس ہزار جرمانہ ہو گا تو لڑکے لڑکیوں سے کئی گز دور رہیں گے۔ اس تحریر پر ایک تبصرہ میں رانا اورنگزیب رانگا  نے پٹھانوں میں اجنبیوں، مسافروں اور خواتین کے ساتھ تعاون واحترام کے چند واقعات قلمبند کرتے ہوئے انکی تریف کی ہے۔

جالبنڑ کی چڑھائی

یہ کالم اور اس پر تبصرہ پڑھ کر مجھے کالام سوات کے حوالے سے اپنے کچھ  مشاہدات ا ور تاثرات یاد آئے۔ یہ آج سے پندرہ برس پہلے کی بات ہے۔ گرمیوں کی تین مہینے کی تعطیلات کے لیے سکول بند ہوگٗئے تو ہم چند دوستوں نے یہ چھٹیاں خاندان کے ہمراہ پاکستان کے سوئٹزر لیںڈ سوات کے علاقے کالام میں گزارنے کا ارادہ کیا۔ وہاں جانے سے پہلے ہم نے گھر کرائے پر لے لیے تھے۔ تین مہینے کے لے اُس وقت ایک مناسب گھر دس سے پندرہ ہزار میں مل جاتا تھا ۔ 2010 کے سیلاب سے ابھی سڑکیں خراب نہیں ہوئی تھیں۔ ہم سہولت سے پہنچے بھی اور وہاں ہمارا قیام بھی بڑاخوشگوار رہا۔ ہم چار دوست روزانہ میلوں پیدل آس پاس کے علاقوں کے چکرلگاتے رہتے اور ہفتے میں ایک بار دورافتادہ مقامات پر گاڑی میں بھی جاتے ۔اس دوران کئ ایک یادگار واقعات پیش آئے جن سے ایک دوواقعات وسی بابا  کے کالم اور اس پر تبصرہ کی تائید کرتی ہیں۔

جالبنڑ سے کالام کا نظارہ

ہم نے کالام بازار سے مغرب کی طرف تین کلومیٹر بلندی پر واقع ایک گاؤں جالبنڑ میں جگہ کرائے پر حاصل کی تھی۔ جالبنڑ سے  مغرب کی طرف اونچائی پرایک بڑا پہاڑ ہے اور ایک آبشار  بھی ہے جس پر چھوٹا سا بجلی گھر بنایا گیا ہے۔ مشرق کی طرف اونچائی پر برف سے لدی ہوئی پہاڑی چوٹیاں نظر آتی ہیں۔ شمال کی طرف بھی پہاڑیاں اور وسیع جنگلات دکھائی دیتے ہیں جبکہ اس کے جنوب میں  ایک پہاڑی ہے جس کے اُس طرف گیل کی مشہور وادی ہے۔ گیل اور جالبنڑ کے درمیانی پہاڑ کی چوٹی پر وسیع رقبے پر محیط ایک محل نما گھر اور باغ تھا، اس کے چاروں طرف خاردار تاریں اور آہنی جنگلے لگے ہوئے تھے۔ علاقے کے مکینوں کا کہنا تھا یہ لاہور کے شریف خاندان کا سرمائی گھر ہے۔

 جالبنڑ سے  بازار آنے جانے کے لیے کھیتوں کے درمیان ایک سڑک بنی ہوئی تھی۔ اس کی حالت بہت خراب تھی۔گیل کی وادی تک پہنچنے کے لیے جالبنڑ سے ایک انتہائی سخت چڑھائی والی پگڈنڈی لوگوں نے بنائی ہوئی تھی۔ ان راستوں پر نیچے آنے اور پھر واپس جانے کا اپنا ہی مزہ تھا۔ پٹھے مضبوط ہونے شروع ہوئے تو دم بھی آہستہ آہستہ پختہ ہوتا گیا۔ آغازمیں معمولی سفر کے بعد آرام کرنا پڑتا لیکن پھر میلوں سفر پر بھی اس کی ضرورت نہ پڑتی۔ یوں تو ہر ایک کو  فائدہ ہوا مگر ہمارے ایک لحیم دوست جس کا وزن کالام جانے سے پہلے ۱۱۰ کلوگرام تھا ان سیاحتی مٹرگشتیوں کے بعد ۸۰ کلو تک آگئے۔

جالبنڑ کے لوگوں کو بڑا ملنسارپایا۔ جس شخص کا مکان ہم نے کرایہ پر لیا تھا وہ حاجی صاحب کہلاتے تھے۔ انہوں نے ہماری دعوت کی۔ اس کے بعد کئ دوسرے افراد نے بھی مہمان نوازی کی۔ پنجاب اور دوسرے علاقوں کے لوگ بھی یہاں رہ رہے تھے اور وہ بھی بڑے خوش اور مطمئن تھے۔

ایک روز جالبنڑ میں عشاء کی نماز کے شوروغوغا بلند ہوا۔ پتہ چلا کسی سیاح پنجابی جوڑی کو کسی نے بازار سے اوپر جالبنڑ آتے ہوئے نقدی اور زیورات سے محروم کردیا ہے۔ کچھ بزرگ حضرات  رونے والی لڑکی اور پریشان لڑکے کی ڈھارس بندھانے لگے جب کہ اس دوران لاؤڈ سپیکروں پر جوڑے کے لٹنے کا اعلان کرکےکہا گیا کہ سب لوگ نکل آئیں تاکہ چوروں کو پکڑا جا سکے۔ آناً فاناً  اپنے علاقے کی اس طرح بدنامی پر بپھرے اور لاٹھیوں سے مسلح جوان ادھر ادھر پھیل گئے۔ تھوڑی دیر بعد دو نوجوان ان کے قبضے میں تھے۔ انہیں بزرگوں کے سامنے پیش کیاگیا مگر اس سے پہلے انکی اچھی خاصی مرمت کی جا چکی تھی۔ معلوم ہوا یہ لڑکے بھی سیاح کے طور پرباہر سے آئے تھے۔ ان سے رقم اور زیورات لےکر جوڑے کےحوالے کر دئیے گئے۔ وہ ڈاکو روتے دھوتے معافی مانگتے رہے کہ آئندہ وہ یہاں ایسا کچھ نہیں کریں گے اور نہ ہی وہ سوات آئیں گے۔ بعد میں غالباً انہیں پولیس کے حوالے کردیا گیا۔

kondol lake

ایک اورناقابل فراموش واقعہ کالام سے سولہ کلومیٹردور شمال میں واقع اتروڑ وادی میں پیش آیا۔ اتروڑ سے شمال کی جانب چار میل کی مسافت پر واقع جھیل کنڈول یا کنڈل جھیل (ڈھنڈٌ) کو جانے کا راستہ دشوار گزار ہے، پانچ چھے گھنٹہ کا پیدل سفر ہے اور اوپر آکسیجن کی کمی بھی پیش آتی ہے جس کے لیے مقامی لوگوں نے ایک مقامی بوٹی کو مسلسل سونگھتے رہنے کی ہدایت کی۔ وہ واقعی ایک کٹھن سفر تھا۔ ہمارے لحیم دوست کی سانس تو لگ بھگ ٹوٹ گئ تھی اور ہمارے ہاتھوں کے توتے اڑ گئے تھے لیکن خدا خدا کرکے کنڈل جھیل پہنچ گئے تو ایک اورامتحان ہمارے منتظر تھا۔ ہمارے ساتھ لاہور سے تعلق رکھنے والے پانچ لڑکوں کو ایک گروپ بھی تھا۔ ہم وہاں پہنچ گئے تو لاہوری بھائیوں کے درمیان کسی مسئلے پر توتو میں میں شروع ہوگئ۔ دیکھتے ہی تین لڑکے ایک دھان پان سے لڑکے پر ٹوٹ پڑے اور اس سے پہلے کہ ہم بیچ بچاؤ کرتے وہ لڑکا اور اس کے ایک اور ساتھی کے سر اور چہرے سے خون بہنے لگا۔ ان کے کپڑے جگہ جگہ سے پھٹ گئے تھے۔ ہم نے لڑکوں کو روکنے کی کوشش کی تو وہ ہم سے بھی الجھ گئے کہ ہمارا ان کے ذاتی معاملے میں کیا کام۔ جو قصور اس لڑکےکا ان سے معلوم ہوا وہ  بہت معمولی تھا مگرلاہوری دوست ہمارے منع کرنے اور اس لڑکے کی بچاؤ بچاؤ کی دہائی کے باوجود  اس دوران اس کو ٹھڈے مارتے رہے۔ اس دوران مارنے والوں میں سے ایک نے آواز لگائی اس۔۔۔ کے کپڑے نکال دو۔  ہم ابھی اپنے اگلے طرزعمل پر ابھی سوچ رہے تھے کہ اس دوران  کچھ فاصلے پر موجود تین لڑکوں کا ایک گروپ تیزی سے قریب آیا۔  ایک لڑکے ، جس نے لمبا کوٹ اور چادر اوڑھی ہوئی تھی، نے آتے ہی مارنے والوں کو کہا کہ ہاتھ روک دیں اور ساتھ ہی ہمیں بھی کھری کھری سنائیں کہ پٹھان ہونے کے باوجود ہم خاموش تماشائی بنے ہوئے ہیں اور مظلوم کو بچانہیں رہے۔ بپھرے ہوئے لاہوری جوانوں نے اس کو بھی جھڑک دیا۔ اس لڑکے نے اچانک چادر اتار پھینکی اور کوٹ کے نیچے ہاتھ ڈال کر نکالا تو اس  میں کلاشنکوف تھی۔ اس نےکلاشنکوف کا رخ ان کی طرف کرکے انہیں ہاتھ اوپر اٹھانے اور آنکھیں بند کرکے کھڑے ہونے کا حکم دیا۔ اس کے بعد اس لڑکے کو اٹھایا اور اپنے ساتھیوں سے بھاری بھاری بدلہ لینے کا کہا۔ وہ لڑکا رونےلگ گیا کہ میں انہیں معاف کرتا ہوں آپ بھی انہیں معاف کردیں۔ کلاشنکوف والا لڑکا کہنے لگا۔ نہیں مگر اگر یہ خود آپ سے معافی مانگ لیں۔ لڑکے جو اس سے پہلے بڑے تیس مار خان بنے ہوئے تھے، فوراً لڑکے کے پاؤں پڑ گئے۔ لڑکے نے انہیں اٹھا کر گلے لگایا اور ہم سب نے ہنسی خوشی اکٹھے کھانا کھایا۔ کلاشنکوف والا لڑکا پھروہاں سے پہاڑکی جانب چلا اور جلد ہی نگاہوں سے اوجھل ہوگیا۔

ایک اور عجیب و غریب تجربہ یا مشاہدہ یہ تھا کہ کالام میں آپ کہیں بھی کسی کھیت یا باغ کے اندر مصروف کار لوگوں سے کوئی سبزی یا پھل مانگ لیں تو وہ آپ سے پیسے نہیں لیتے۔ بازار کی بات الگ ہے۔ گھر سے آپ کو دودھ بھی پیسوں سے نہیں مفت ملے گا اگر ہوگا تو۔ وہ کہتے ہیں کھیت، باغ اور گھر سے مانگنے کی کوئی چیز پیسوں سےبیچنا ان کی روایات کے خلاف ہے۔

مٹلتان کالام

ایک اور واقعہ پیش خدمت ہے۔ ایک روز حاجی صاحب اور جالبنڑ کے چند اور بزرگوں کے ساتھ ہم گیل وادی میں ’’شریف محل‘‘ میں ایک دعوت سے فارغ ہوکر واپس آرہے تھے کہ پہاڑ کی چوٹی پر راستے سے کافی دور ایک لڑکا لڑکی جھاڑیوں میں ’’راز ونیاز‘‘ کرتے نظر آئے۔ ہم ان کے پاس گئے کہ ان سے ’’تفتیش‘‘ کرلیں مگر حاجی صاحب نے ایک دو سوالات کے بعد ہی ہمیں انہیں چھوڑ کر نماز کے لیے مسجد کی راہ لینے پر آمادہ کر لیا۔ایسا لگا ہماری ’تجسس‘ اور ان کی ’سیاح دوستی‘ کے مقابلے میں ہماری تجسس ہار گئ۔

مہو ڈھنڈ کالام

Walnuts in malakand division

Growing nuts

There is a great potential for planting walnut trees in Malakand and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/dec2011-weekly/nos-25-12-2011/pol1.htm#5

The Malakand Division, according to one estimate, accounts for roughly 95 percent of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s walnut yield. Walnut of different sizes, quality, and colour are produced here which are marketed in whole form or its flesh taken out and packed, and is sold in the market. What is being done to increase the yield of dry fruits after the militancy days are over?

In Dir, these days per kilogramme prices of different qualities of walnuts range between Rs100-250 for whole and Rs400-700 for walnut flesh, of pistachio between Rs600-800, of almond Rs150-400 and chilghoza being the costliest of all with Rs1400, according to Saeedur Rehman, a dry fruit dealer in Dir.

Rehman says chilghoza (pine-nut) prices have surged to over Rs70,000 per 50kg (Rs1400) in the whole sale market and it may be sold around for Rs1500-1800 in the open market after adding the transportation charges, dealers’ commission, shopkeepers’ profit and imposition of various taxes.”

Contrary to the general impression, he says, militancy hadn’t badly impacted on the dry fruit production and businesses and opined that prices have come down as compared to last year.

“Prices of whole walnut were around Rs13-14000-50kg last year but this year these have come down to Rs11-12000. It is because there was bumper production this year. While we still have last year’s stock, the produce for this year has arrived in the market.” He believes, “There is no hope for the price-surge as the market is sluggish at the moment. The government needs to make arrangements for purchasing and exporting the commodity. I am sure the country would earn a lot of money in the global dry fruit market by exporting this quality commodity.”

He says, “The price of walnut, a Dir speciality, ranges between Rs5000-12000 per 50kg while that of its pure flesh ranges between Rs22000-35000-50kg. Walnut from Barawal and Bamboret are liked for their big size and taste. The brighter the fleshy part, the higher the price. And the cooler the area where it is produced, the better the taste and quality of the walnut,” he adds.

The sale of the walnut flesh fetches more income for the dealers. That is why people in Dir, rather than selling standing walnut trees or the whole fruit with cover, have started taking out its flesh and packing and selling it. A 50kg sac of whole walnut produces around 22-25kg pure fruit which fetches around Rs22000-35000 in the market, much higher than the whole fruit prices.

The importance of the walnuts cannot be overstated. Dry fruits and winters go hand in hand. While watching movies, reading books or newspapers or partying with friends, dry fruits help warm the body. Dry fruit are not only health-friendly but are also taken as gifts to friends and officials in beautiful packing. But skyrocketing prices are making them an unaffordable luxury for the majority.

Hundreds of tonnes of walnut, pine-nut and other dry fruit are produced in Dir and surrounding districts. Barawal, Dir Kohistan and Garam Chashma, Bamboret and Bony valleys in Chitral produce the best walnut and pine nut. The walnut from Nooristan Afghanistan also reaches the local market.” Experts say walnut helps improve memory, is useful for treating stomach, liver and kidney diseases, for cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. It helps control cholesterol level, strengthens the walls of blood vessels and prevents diabetes and supports immune system.

Lack of official support, negligence of the concerned departments, continuous deforestation of the existing trees for getting ‘Dandansa’ and other purposes, and non-cultivation of new ones have badly affected the produce.

The government should provide technical advice and support to grow more walnut trees as these are depleting and about 90 per cent of the potential in the area is yet to be utilised.

Rehman was particularly unhappy over cutting walnut trees for getting “dandansa”. “The problem is for dandansa you have to cut down the younger trees whose stem-cover and roots are the best.

Shah Abdar, a Swat-based grower of walnut, says hundreds of tons of walnuts are grown in Bahrain, Kalam and other valleys of Swat, adding that the potential of walnut in the area is not being explored.

Swat is the ideal place for walnut. It usually grows on mountain ridges, in the gorges and river-banks and thus doesn’t impact the already less cultivable land. Walnut could be the greatest source of income for the area people. But despite being the main asset along with fruit, vegetable and livestock, the number of walnut trees has been on the decline and only about 5 to 10 percent of the area in Swat suitable for walnut is utilised..

“The reason for this is absence of personal ownership. The trees so cultivated are often destroyed by the people as there is no sufficient care and security for them. The government and non-governmental organisations need to provide expert advice, walnut plantlets /seeds, and insecticides to farmers to grow more trees. It is only then that the problem will be solved once and for all. In the hope of huge returns, they will do whatever is possible to keep it safe and healthy,” Shah argues.

It can have great financial benefits for the poverty, militancy, and floods-stricken farmers. “Around 5 big walnut trees grow in one canal of land. Farming families usually own less cultivable but much more non-cultivable lands in Swat. If we take the average land per family at 50 canals and the family grows walnut trees on it, it can become millionaire within no time. Just leave the 300kg yield per tree, even if the per tree yield is just 50kg, it will earn the family around Rs2.5million at the current market rate.”

“Though main roads in the area have been repaired to some extent, the link roads to far flung areas are still inaccessible. It leaves the poor people with no choice but to sell their standing walnut trees to dealers on meagre prices, thus incurring losses,” according to him.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Unaffordable Warmers

By Tahir Ali

Dry fruit –walnut, pistachio, chilghoza, peanuts and almond etc- and winter go hand in hand. While watching movies, reading books or newspapers or partying with friends, dry fruit are munched to warm the body.

Dry fruit are not only health-friendly but are also taken as gifts to friends and officials them in beautiful packets. But skyrocketing prices are making them an unaffordable luxury for the majority.

Dependent upon the taste, health, colour and size, the per kilogramme prices of different qualities of walnut are between Rs100-250 for whole and Rs400-700 for walnut flesh, of pistachio between Rs600-800, of almond Rs150-400 and chilghoza being the costliest of all with Rs1400 in Dir these days, according to Saeedur Rehman, a dry fruit dealer in Dir.

He said chilghoza (pine-nut) prices have surged to over Rs70,000 per 50kg (Rs1400) in the whole sale market and may be sold around Rs1500-1800 in the open market after the transportation charges, dealers’ commission, shopkeeper profit and imposition of various taxes taken into account,” said.

Contrary to general impression, he said militancy hadn’t adversely impacted the dry fruit production and businesses and opined that prices have come down as compared to last year.

“Prices of whole walnut were around Rs13-14000/50kg last year but this year these have come down to Rs11-12000. It is because there was bumper production this year. While we still have last year’s stock, the produce for this year has arrived in the market. There is no hope for the price-surge as the market is sluggish at the moment. The government needs to make arrangements for purchasing and exporting the commodity. I am sure the country would earn a lot of money and get good name in the global dry fruit market by exporting this quality commodity,” he said.

“The price of walnut, a Dir speciality, ranges between Rs5000-12000 per 50kg while that of its pure flesh ranges between Rs22000-35000/50kg. Walnut from Barawal and Bamboret are liked for their big size and taste. The brighter the fleshy part, the higher the price. And the cooler the area where it is produced, the better the taste and quality of the walnut,” he added.

“The sale of the walnut flesh fetches more income for the dealers. That is why people in Dir, rather than selling standing walnut trees or the whole fruit with cover, have started taking out its flesh and packing and selling it. A 50kg sac of whole walnut produces around 22-25kg pure fruit which fetches around Rs22000-35000 in the market, much higher than the whole fruit prices,” he said.

Malakand division accounts for 95 percent of provincial walnut yield. Walnut of different sizes, quality and colour are produced here which are marketed in whole form or only its flesh, taken out and packed, is sold in the market.

“Hundreds of tonnes of walnut, pine-nut and other dry fruit are produced in Dir and surrounding districts. Barawal, Dir Kohistan and Garam Chashma, Bamboret and Bony valleys in Chitral produce the best walnut and pine nut. The walnut from Nooristan Afghanistan also reaches the local market,” he said.

“But lack of official support, negligence of the concerned departments, continuous deforestation of the existing trees for getting ‘Dandansa’ and other purposes, non-cultivation of new ones and some ailments (stem-borer), ignorance of farmers and porcupine attacks have endangered this great asset,” he added

The government should provide technical advice/support, walnut plantlets and seeds to grow more walnut trees as these are depleting and about 90 per cent of the potential in the area is yet to be utilised.

Mr Rehman was particularly unhappy over cutting the walnut tree for getting “Dandansa”. “The problem is for Dandansa you have to cut down the younger trees whose stem-cover and roots are the best Dandansa. Even though it is unlawful to get and sell Dandansa, it continues unabated,” he said.

Shah Abdar, a Swat based grower of walnut, said hundreds of tons of walnuts are grown in Bahrain, Kalam and other valleys of Swat adding that the potential of walnut in the area is far from being utilized.

“Swat is the ideal place for walnut. It usually grows on mountain ridges, in the gorges and river-banks and thus doesn’t impact the already less cultivable land. Walnut could be the greatest source of income for the area people. But despite being the main asset along with fruit, vegetable and livestock, the number of walnut trees has been on the decline and only about 5 to 10 per cent of the area in Swat suitable for walnut is utilised thus far,” he said.

The forest department, he said each year runs tree plantation campaigns but there is no progress on the ground.

“The reason for this is absence of personal ownership. The trees so cultivated are often destroyed by the people as there is no sufficient care and security for them.  The government and non-governmental organisations need to provide expert advice, walnut plantlets/seeds, and insecticides to farmers to grow more trees. It is only then that the problem will be solved once and for all. In the hope of huge returns, they will do whatever possible to keep it safe and healthy,” he argued.

It can have great financial benefits for the poverty/militancy/floods-stricken farmers.

“There are around 5 big walnut tree is one canal of land. Farming families usually own less cultivable but much more non-cultivable lands in Swat. If we take the average land per family at 50 canals and the family grows walnut trees on it, it can become millionaire within no time. Just leave the 300kg yield per tree, even if the per tree yield is just 50kg, it will earn the family around Rs2.5million at the current market rate,” he opined.

“Though main roads in the area have been repaired to some extent, the link roads to far flung areas are still inaccessible. It leaves the poor people with no choice but to sell their standing walnut trees to dealers on meagre prices, thus incurring losses,” according to him.

Experts say walnut helps improve memory, is useful for treating stomach, liver and kidney diseases, for cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. It helps control cholesterol level, strengthens the walls of blood vessels and prevents diabetes and supports immune system.

Agriculture in budget of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Bakau agriculture 1

Image via Wikipedia

When it comes down to food

The budget of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa does not hold much for the agriculture sector

By Tahir Ali

http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jul2011-weekly/nos-10-07-2011/pol1.htm#3

Agriculture sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has once again failed to elicit enough funds and attention from the provincial government in the budget.

Contrary to official claims that the new budget would be innovative in its outlook, an analysis of the annual strategy shows that it is yet another exercise characterised by meagre funding, phased allocation of funds that delays completion of projects for years and with overstretched plan of action that has no or negligible results.

Agriculture sector, which accounts to 25 percent of provincial gross domestic product and on which the livelihood of around 70 percent of its population depends directly or indirectly, requires an out of box solution, sufficient funds and their en-bloc release, and most of all commitment of provincial authorities whose indifference could be devastating for the sector after the 18th amendment.

The Chief Planning Officer of ministry of agriculture, Ahmad Said, informs agriculture Annual Development Programme (ADP) for 2011-12 has been prepared in the light of provincial agriculture policy 2005, horticulture policy 2009, and reconstruction priorities.

The total outlay of ADP has been increased by 15 percent from Rs69bn to Rs85bn. Allocation to agriculture and its related sectors has been increased from Rs1.175bn in the outgoing fiscal to Rs1.355bn for new fiscal but its share has decreased from 1.70 percent to 1.59 percent as percentage to the ADP. The ADP has 71 projects, including Rs0.849bn for 47 on-going and Rs0.505bn for 24 new schemes.

The whitepaper 2011-12, issued by the provincial finance department recently, says this year’s provincial ADP reflects higher priority to income generating sectors of economy, including agriculture. “Agriculture can easily attain the status of big industry in the province if proper care and patronage is given to it,” it argues.

For example, for five old and new schemes of agriculture mechanisation requiring Rs855mn, only Rs164mn are allocated. And for 37 old and new schemes in agriculture research that required Rs1040mn, only Rs243 have been earmarked for the coming year. Similarly, agriculture planning schemes have been provided only Rs21mn out of the total required Rs640mn.

For project distribution of cultivable land amongst landless farmers and agriculture graduates, which has a total outlay of Rs200mn, only Rs10mn have been allotted to the year, which means it will take years for the project to complete and benefit the farmers.

Again, only Rs1mn have been set aside for rehabilitation of germ-plasma units in Hazara division that involves Rs10mn in all. And for the establishment of the olive orchards in wasteland, another good intervention, only Rs10mn out of the total Rs60mn have been approved for the year.

Similarly, for a 2008 project of strengthening of planning and monitoring capacity of the agriculture department involving Rs15, only Rs3mn have been allotted while Rs5mn had been spent on the project. Can there be any better proof for half-hearted measures on the part of the government?

According to an official document, in the outgoing year, out of the total core ADP estimates of Rs69 billion, Rs45bn were released but actual expenditure stood at only Rs26bn. For the agriculture sector, over Rs1.22bn were released against the budget estimates of Rs1.175bn but only Rs0.67bn of these could be spent till 20th May, 2011.

Viewed in this backdrop, the amount to be spent on agriculture may be much less than allocated in the ADP. In the new ADP, there are 39 foreign-funded projects worth over Rs16bn but the agriculture sector has no projects in it like the outgoing fiscal. The government should have arranged research and development projects with the help of foreign donors to give a fillip to the under-performing sector.

Last year, the KP government had announced revival of cooperative bank and promised to provide Rs1 billion seed money for easy farm and non-farm loans to small farmers and rural women from the bank but actually onlyRs200mn were released. This year too, Rs400mn will be released. How can credit ratio be improved in this situation?

“The main problem confronting farmers is their poverty and costliness of agricultural inputs but there is no scheme to address the problem. The government should have announced an agriculture subsidy regime on its own or with the help of foreign donors,” says Haji Niamat Shah, a farmer. Despite these shortcomings, the annual agriculture roadmap of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is comprehensive and has something for each sub-sector.

According to Ahmad Said, lands that were washed away by floods would be rehabilitated and orchards would be established anew through free plants provision. “Another project for improving quality and increasing production of fruit plants through tissue culture technology has also been proposed. A public-private joint scheme for olive cultivation in areas where ordinary crops cannot be grown is being launched,” he adds. Subsidized inputs availability, weak coordination between farmers and government and wastage of on farm produce have gone unaddressed.

Strategy for revival of tourism in Swat

PTDC Motel at Swat, NWFP, Pakistan. Image by M...

Image via Wikipedia

Formulating a viable strategy to revive tourism
The middle class will have to participate in tourism promotion campaigns, but the slump in businesses and decline in incomes coupled with security fears have been responsible for the people to not visit tourist resorts of late

By Tahir Ali Khan

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/apr2011-weekly/busrev-25-04-2011/p7.htm

With summer at hand and peace established in Swat, the provincial and federal governments, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), Sarhad Tourism Corporation, local hotel/tourism industry and private tour operators should make joint concerted efforts to revive tourism in the region. To regain its erstwhile glory, tourism however needs some drastic measures and initiatives on part of all the stakeholders.

In collaboration with the private sector, the government should immediately conduct a need assessment survey to ascertain the different steps and facilities needed for attracting tourists in potential areas. But, obviously, the government cannot do all the things on its own. Therefore, public-private ventures are also the call of the hour to boost the tourism industry.

Revival of tourism is a prerequisite for eliminating extremism in the country as millions of people are jobless and thus indulge in such activities. A large chunk of the population is directly or indirectly dependent upon the sector. It, unfortunately, has suffered from the indifference of government and lack of sufficient involvement by the private sector.

The Ski Gala event which took place this winter and last year’s peace festival organised by the Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA) in Swat had attracted many tourists to the picturesque valley and rekindled hopes for reviving the tourism sector. But it requires a strong commitment and increased funding on part of the government to build the tourism infrastructure and public and private sectors’ coordination to achieve the milestone.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should hold such festivals each year and arrange other amusing programmes in Swat. And the festivals should be given sufficient coverage in print and electronic media to attract tourists from both in and out of the country.

The middle class will have to participate in these campaigns, but the slump in businesses and decline in incomes coupled with security fears have been responsible for the people’s decreased desire to visit tourist resorts of late. This necessitates introducing certain incentives for tourists belonging to the middle and lower-middle classes.

Pakistanis are great lovers of cricket. There is a beautiful ground near Kalam where a small-scale national cricket tournament can be organised. Hotels are there in plenty. The appetising local fruit and vegetable as well as the famous mouth-watering Swat trout-fish would add to their pleasure. This would also send positive signals to the world about the people in Swat and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The government should repair and widen the roads damaged by floods in the area, construct new roads, construct walking treks at various locations and hotels. An international wildlife park at the world’s biggest plain Deodar forest at Kalam should be established.

Gabinajabba near Kabal, which is covered by snow even in peak summer, still has no road to go there. Hotel and the chairlift facilities in Malam Jabba Ski resort and other potential areas would have to be ensured. The government can develop a ski resort at Bishay Kalam where there is a natural miles long track. It should arrange a chairlift facility to go there from bazaar.

Communication facilities should be improved. Early restoration of Swat airport and helicopter facility to travel to/from Swat and between different areas of Swat will be welcome. Special transport facilities with discount in transport fares to the area could also be arranged by making a special request to the private transport companies.

There are 14 beautiful lakes in the valley such as Kondol Lake in Uthror Kalam. Several of them are unfortunately unknown and unattractive for tourists due to lack of roads and hotels.

The government should not only rejuvenate the PTDC motels and announce relief for tourists in its transport, lodging and cuisine services but also ask the private hotel industry to support the initiative with subsidised services to visitors. But is the latter in a position to do so in the wake of huge losses caused by floods and militancy?

“Apart from conducting several programmes for promotion of tourism like the peace tourism festival last year and Swat Peace Ski gala this year, we have also provided both in-kind and in-cash grants to 265 hotels amounting to millions of dollars with the help of USAID the FIRMS Project in Malakand to make them competitive and profitable,” Shakil Qadir Khan, the Director General of PaRRSA informed.

But more such steps need to be taken which will enable the badly-affected local hoteliers to provide better and cheaper services.

In a special package, the government, with the help of international donors and community, should immediately offer incentives to hotels, motels, restaurants and allied businesses. Besides, tourists’ information centres at several places must be established. Publication of literature in foreign languages, simple visa facilities like desks/counters for foreign tourists at airports will also greatly help revive tourism.

Swat has over 400 Buddhist sites. The government can prepare a special package/programme for the people of Japan, Thailand, and Sri Lanka to visit these places.

Swat, known as the Switzerland of Pakistan, is an ideal place for summer and winter tourism, adventure tourism, eco-tourism, culture/heritage tourism, spiritual tourism, sports tourism and commercial tourism. Lots of TV dramas are being shot in foreign countries. Why cannot these be filmed in local areas which can go a long way to make the world familiar with the beautiful landscape of the area?

The government and private tour operators would do well to establish links between communities and enabling institutions, such as banks, line departments, foreign embassies and donor agencies to revive tourism in the region.

Malik said there would be no restrictions on the tourists to visit any place in Swat. Security situation has indeed improved in the area but the tourists’ apprehensions regarding fool-proof security need to be removed and more facilities should be provided to them. To restore tourists’ confidence, the government should arrange army-supported tours to Swat. The ministries of foreign affairs, interior and Pakistani embassies abroad should jointly work for promotion of tourism with regional and friendly countries.

The sector that fetched billions to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Swat alone has ceased to be a source of income anymore. It is estimated that Swat’s hotel industry has suffered losses of billions of rupees so far. The shrinkage of tourists has had an adverse impact on various tourism-dependent sectors like hotel, transport, cuisine, horticulture and handicrafts in the area rendering millions jobless.

Early recovery project for Malakand farmers

Early recovery project for Malakand farmers

 
Dawn January 3, 2011

By Tahir Ali Khan

http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/03/early-recovery-project-for-malakand-farmers.html

A
$10 million early recovery of agriculture and livestock programme has
been launched in the Malakand division for the benefit of farmers
affected by floods and militancy.

The programme, initiated in October 2010 and to be completed by
October 2011, is being implemented and monitored by the Provincial
Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Settlement Authority (PRRSA) with
the Italy’s debt swap grant.

According to a PRRSA official, the programme is improving the lives and incomes of the households in the target areas.

“Within three months, the programme has helped restore and increase
community-government liaison, revitalised village organisations (VOs)
in the project area, restored and strengthened inputs supply chain,
increased the number of farmers in model farm services centre (MFSC) by
about 159 per cent from 1,588 to 3,959,” he said.

“In two batches of the programme for revival of commercial poultry
farms, three female and seven male farmers, earned about Rs12million by
investing Rs10 million.

In maize crop, one Sheerin from Miandam, Swat, increased per acre
yield by about 163 per cent enhancing earning from Rs48,000 to over
Rs1,28,000. In pea crop, Gulshan and Ali Rehman of Miandam increased
their incomes from Rs13,700 to Rs75,000 and from Rs11,800 to Rs53,000,”
the official added.

“For the first half of the project which ends in March 2011, we had
a target of forming or revising 60 VOs, but we have formed 90 bodies so
far. We intended to provide, inter alia, maize, pea and onion seeds to
6,600, 2,700, and 2,000 farmers respectively. We have given seeds of
these crops to 3,200, 2,700, and 660 farmers in that order already. We
provided 235 tons of wheat seeds out of 300 tons and gave 1,300 tons of
fertilisers to farmers of our 3,000 target,” he added.

“In the livestock sector, the project intended to provide 12,500
poultry units to women farmers but instead 4,600 were provided with the
poultry. As against the plan to vaccinate 13,500 animals, 15,000 were
vaccinated. Establishment of 50 water conservation ponds in the area is
also in progress,” he said.

“In the forestry sector, against the target for setting up of 17
private forest nurseries, 22 were opened. The 2.1 million of the forest
plant production target has also been met.

Working on 81,000 olive trees against the target of 200,000 has been
done. However, community plantation has been carried out at only 84
hectares against the targeted 2,200 hectares,” the source said.

“We will be giving 400,000 fruit plants and 10,000 and 500
hand/power sprayers to farmers and opening 20 private fish farms in the
area. Some 50 farmers’ field schools and 12 each agriculture/livestock
extension workers training centres would also be set up. We would also
be rehabilitating 100km long irrigation channels. Ten biogas plants
will also be installed,” he informed.

By providing farm inputs, agricultural technology, poultry and
livestock to the affected farmers in selected parts of Malakand
division – Kabal, Matta, Charbagh, Khwaza Khela tehsils of Swat and Dok
Dara union council in Upper Dir- ERALP, the project aims at restoring
food security of the area people at household level, help recover the
pre-crisis level of agriculture production and improve the
capacity/incomes of the poor families, especially of women, landless
and vulnerable people through income generation activities,
reforestation, orchard management and rehabilitation of irrigation
system in the area.

“By improving their incomes through delivery of better tools,
inputs, knowledge and market access, not only their poverty can be
reduced but the problems of food security and food inflation can be
solved,” added a farmer Naeem.

Ms Sara Rezoagli, an official of the Italian embassy, has promised
that the project could be extended after reviewing its financial
aspects and recommendations of technical experts.

Agriculture was badly affected by years of militancy and the devastating flash floods in July last year in the region.

The post-militancy damage needs assessment report had estimated
Rs2.2 billion losses for fruits and Rs2.8bn for vegetables in the area.
It also revealed that 75 per cent of the livestock population has been
lost in the region.

The DNA had envisaged Rs22 billion for rehabilitation of agriculture, livestock and irrigation sectors in the area. .

Bakht Biland Khan, general secretary of MFSC, Swat, was sceptical of
any positive impact of the programme. “VOs might have been formed but
most were already functioning at village levels and didn’t comprise
farmers necessarily. I cannot confirm or deny whether any inputs,
support and training has been given to VOs in other areas but the VO in
my village Dagai, Kabal, has not been given anything during the last
few months,” he said.

“PRRSA in June last year had distributed maize and pea seeds besides
providing wheat seeds and fertilisers through the extension department
and MFSCs. The extension department officials also worked better. I am
at a loss to understand as to why the good process of working through
the extension department and the MFSCs was given up and new independent
methodology was adopted for this project,” he maintained.

Share

Early recovery project for Malakand farmers

Early recovery project for Malakand farmers


Dawn January 3, 2011

By Tahir Ali Khan

http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/03/early-recovery-project-for-malakand-farmers.html

A $10 million early recovery of agriculture and livestock programme has been launched in the Malakand division for the benefit of farmers affected by floods and militancy.

The programme, initiated in October 2010 and to be completed by October 2011, is being implemented and monitored by the Provincial Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Settlement Authority (PRRSA) with the Italy’s debt swap grant.

According to a PRRSA official, the programme is improving the lives and incomes of the households in the target areas.

“Within three months, the programme has helped restore and increase community-government liaison, revitalised village organisations (VOs) in the project area, restored and strengthened inputs supply chain, increased the number of farmers in model farm services centre (MFSC) by about 159 per cent from 1,588 to 3,959,” he said.

“In two batches of the programme for revival of commercial poultry farms, three female and seven male farmers, earned about Rs12million by investing Rs10 million.

In maize crop, one Sheerin from Miandam, Swat, increased per acre yield by about 163 per cent enhancing earning from Rs48,000 to over Rs1,28,000. In pea crop, Gulshan and Ali Rehman of Miandam increased their incomes from Rs13,700 to Rs75,000 and from Rs11,800 to Rs53,000,” the official added.

“For the first half of the project which ends in March 2011, we had a target of forming or revising 60 VOs, but we have formed 90 bodies so far. We intended to provide, inter alia, maize, pea and onion seeds to 6,600, 2,700, and 2,000 farmers respectively. We have given seeds of these crops to 3,200, 2,700, and 660 farmers in that order already. We provided 235 tons of wheat seeds out of 300 tons and gave 1,300 tons of fertilisers to farmers of our 3,000 target,” he added.

“In the livestock sector, the project intended to provide 12,500 poultry units to women farmers but instead 4,600 were provided with the poultry. As against the plan to vaccinate 13,500 animals, 15,000 were vaccinated. Establishment of 50 water conservation ponds in the area is also in progress,” he said.

“In the forestry sector, against the target for setting up of 17 private forest nurseries, 22 were opened. The 2.1 million of the forest plant production target has also been met.

Working on 81,000 olive trees against the target of 200,000 has been done. However, community plantation has been carried out at only 84 hectares against the targeted 2,200 hectares,” the source said.

“We will be giving 400,000 fruit plants and 10,000 and 500 hand/power sprayers to farmers and opening 20 private fish farms in the area. Some 50 farmers’ field schools and 12 each agriculture/livestock extension workers training centres would also be set up. We would also be rehabilitating 100km long irrigation channels. Ten biogas plants will also be installed,” he informed.

By providing farm inputs, agricultural technology, poultry and livestock to the affected farmers in selected parts of Malakand division – Kabal, Matta, Charbagh, Khwaza Khela tehsils of Swat and Dok Dara union council in Upper Dir- ERALP, the project aims at restoring food security of the area people at household level, help recover the pre-crisis level of agriculture production and improve the capacity/incomes of the poor families, especially of women, landless and vulnerable people through income generation activities, reforestation, orchard management and rehabilitation of irrigation system in the area.

“By improving their incomes through delivery of better tools, inputs, knowledge and market access, not only their poverty can be reduced but the problems of food security and food inflation can be solved,” added a farmer Naeem.

Ms Sara Rezoagli, an official of the Italian embassy, has promised that the project could be extended after reviewing its financial aspects and recommendations of technical experts.

Agriculture was badly affected by years of militancy and the devastating flash floods in July last year in the region.

The post-militancy damage needs assessment report had estimated Rs2.2 billion losses for fruits and Rs2.8bn for vegetables in the area. It also revealed that 75 per cent of the livestock population has been lost in the region.

The DNA had envisaged Rs22 billion for rehabilitation of agriculture, livestock and irrigation sectors in the area. .

Bakht Biland Khan, general secretary of MFSC, Swat, was sceptical of any positive impact of the programme. “VOs might have been formed but most were already functioning at village levels and didn’t comprise farmers necessarily. I cannot confirm or deny whether any inputs, support and training has been given to VOs in other areas but the VO in my village Dagai, Kabal, has not been given anything during the last few months,” he said.

“PRRSA in June last year had distributed maize and pea seeds besides providing wheat seeds and fertilisers through the extension department and MFSCs. The extension department officials also worked better. I am at a loss to understand as to why the good process of working through the extension department and the MFSCs was given up and new independent methodology was adopted for this project,” he maintained.

Share

New dams for agriculture

Level basin flood irrigation on wheat

Image via Wikipedia

Issue

Water onservation

Pakistan needs a revamped water policy before it’s too late

By Tahir Ali

The prevalent drought has more forcefully reminded the policy makers in Pakistan what has been earlier established by this July’s devastating floods: that the country should build more water reservoirs to accommodate the rain/floods water sooner rather than later.

It has also underscored the need for utilising the waste-water resources for irrigation purposes to guard against the danger of having rain-fed areas without crops in case of drought as is being witnessed.

The devastating flash floods have inflicted huge losses of about $10bn to the national economy. But if we learn from this calamity and become vigilant to volatile climate hazards by taking some measures, the calamity will be turned into an opportunity for development and prosperity.

The situation is even dismal for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where non-irrigated land accounts for over 50 percent of wheat acreage. The irrigated wheat area there is usually is around 0.8 million acres and the rain-fed area is over 1 MA.

With only a few days left in wheat sowing season, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is likely to miss its wheat sowing target of around 1.8mn acres this year.

Gul Nawaz Khatak, the chief planning officer of ministry of agriculture in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said most of the wheat-specific southern districts like Laki Marwat, Tank, Bannu and Dera Ismail waited for rains, saying the rain-fed areas could have been cultivated had there been rain.

“Even if it rains till 20th of December, it will make sowing possible. Otherwise the area will be left without wheat this year. As of now only those areas in non-irrigated lands have gone under wheat cultivation that had some moisture in it. If there is no rain, wheat target will be affected by about 10 to 12 per cent,” he said.

This inability to sow wheat due to lack of water at the provincial and national level, means farmers’ poverty, debt cycle for them, food inflation and food security problems. But it will also have serious financial repercussions for the cash-strapped provincial and national kitties.

A loss of one million tons of wheat cost a whooping Rs24bn of exchequer. The province is expected to lose around 0.5 million tonnes and its woes would be further increased by this loss. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has already sustained a loss of around Rs200bn for floods and another Rs300bn for militancy shocks.

Secretary irrigation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhammad Ashfaq Khan said the irrigation sector has suffered a loss of Rs11bn in floods. “As international donors and the federal government has not provided us the funds for reconstruction so far, we have decided to suspend our annual development programme and diverted funds to reconstruction efforts,” he says.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for lack of infrastructure, is unable to utilise 3.28MAF of its share of water as per the 1991 accord. This is why new dams and canals are required in the province,” he adds.

An official said due to droughts the provincial seeds industry could sell only three of the target of six thousand tonnes seeds to farmers. “The situation is indeed very dismal this year. You know wheat can be sown till January but delay from December onward brings per hectare yield down considerably. The per hectare yield in the province already lower than rest of the country, it is not a good omen for the food deficient province,” he said.

He says the government would give around 1600 metric tonnes of the left over seeds to farmers free of cost now. The cost will be borne by a Kuwait based NGO.

 

“By giving this residue of seeds to farmers, not only the farmers will get relief but if utilised, its expected production will be around 42000 metric tonnes. This will help reduce the gap between the wheat target and actual acreage,” the official says.

The land under wheat cultivation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is 1/5th of the 2.75 million hectare total cultivable land in the province. This needs to be increased.

“The government must increase per acre yield, bring more land under cultivation and ensure mechanised farming and bigger land-holdings,” Shah says.

“This is why province badly needs the construction of promised but delayed/denied Chashma right bank canal’s lift scheme. This will irrigate 0.3MA of land. This will make the province food sufficient but it will also be in a position to export wheat,” Shah argues.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is dependent for 3/4th of its annual wheat requirements of 3.73 million tonnes on Pasco, Punjab’s government or imports.

Ghulam hussain, a farmer said first they faced shortage of seeds at the beginning of the sowing season and also DAP went out of the market. Later prices of fertilizers surged. How can we achieve the target when each and every input is scarce or costly,” he says.

“The climate change scenario was an established phenomenon for which the researchers and the government should try to introduce air/drought/ high temperature and excessive rainfall-resistant varieties that could resist the vagaries of the weather and yielded more grain,” Shah says. “The yield per hectare has reached to over 5000kg in China, but we still have about 2400kg per hectare in the country and still lower in the province,” he adds.

 

The provincial government has prepared detailed designs, feasibility study, pre-feasibility report of around 100 new small dams. The federal government should finance these and the Kurram Tangi dam, Munda dam and some other dams and rivers advocated by the provincial irrigation department. Reservoirs for rainwater should also be built. This is vital for Khyber pakhtunkhwa as 49% of cultivated area is rain-fed.

%d bloggers like this: