People of Mastuj get solar dehydration plants for
preservation of fruits
CHITRAL: The people of Mastuj town got solar powered
dehydration plant for preservation of the superfluous fresh fruits
in bulk quantity thereby increasing the income of the farmers and
alleviate poverty. While talking to the
visiting the town, the chairman of Qarambar and Shandur Area
Development Organization (QASADO), Syed Saadat Jan said that for
want of dehydration facility, technical guidance, packaging and
marketing, more than sixty percent of fresh fruit of apricot, white
mulberry, wild cherry pear and apples wasted in Chitral as the
extra quantity was fed to the animals.
He said that the project was launched with the financial assistance
of Small Grant and Ambassador’s Fund Program (SGAFP) of USAID under
which fifty four plants were provided in different localities of
the area and the women folk were imparted extensive training on
different processes of fruit preservation ranging from harvesting
to dehydration and packaging.
Mr. Jan said that Mastuj town is known for its fabulous product of
apricot, white mulberry, pear and apples and QASADO acted to cash
in the fruit by its preservation and value addition and engagement
of women in the process was yet another feature of the
project for whom the services of food technologists and
agriculturists had been hired.
He said that the fruits dried in customary way by exposing to
direct sunlight lose their pleasant charm, taste and brittleness
and such commodity finds no place in the market.
Nusrat Jabeen, one of the trainees, told the media that she used to
feed a large amount of apricots and apples in her orchards to her
cows in the past but this year, she preserved hundred percent of it
with the help of the dehydration plant.
She said that women from every household were imparted training on
processing of the fruits and operation of the plant and they were
also trained on how to ensure hygienic condition throughout the
“The fruit processing on modern lines will lead to empowerment of
women folk financially as raising fruit orchards and cultivation of
vegetables is considered the sole domain of women folk in Chitral”,
she said and added that in Chitral, the women have been playing
their traditional role in household management.
She said that the women folk engaged in the field of business of
the dried fruits and handicrafts have been grouped as ‘Shandur
Businesswomen Association Mastuj’ which is promoting the
entrepreneurship skills of the women.
The village nazim of Khoozh village council, Noor Ajam said that as
per their survey conducted last year, it revealed that only a
fraction of one percent of the surveyed households dried the
superfluous amount of the fresh fruit and there was no marketing
facility available in the area to sell the fruits in fresh form.
He said that connection of the farmers and growers with the local
and national market was yet another outcome of the project which
ensured that the produce of the farmers will be purchased in the
village promising a great dividend by doing with the local
purchasers who subjected them to exploitation.
Mr. Ajam said that the number of plants sufficed the households of
the area as observed this year while nut cracker machine on each
mohalla level have been provided as the village was abound of