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   September 02,  2015



Flash flood destroyed apple crops in upper Chitral 

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: The extended spate of flash floods throughout the district has caused a colossal loss to the farmers of apple in the valleys of Mastuj, Karimabad, Oveer and Terich which are known as the producing areas of apples of superb quality with huge produce as well.

With the improvement of road facilities to the remote areas, availability of pesticides and development of marketing facilities, the farmers in the areas have switched over to growing apple trees giving up the cultivation of cereal crops and derived a high dividend over the past couple of decades.

A number of fruit merchants in the local market told Chitral Times that the produce of the local species of apple is at its lowest quantity this year as hundreds of acres of land with fruit trees were washed away by the devastating flood that continued for a month starting from mid-July.

Haji Ayaz, a fruit merchant said that the bumper produce of apple from the areas used to flood the market by the end of August every year but this year not a single vehicle carrying the fruit has reached the city as yet.

He said that the his visit to a number of the devastated villages of Brep, Karimabad, Mastuj and Terich was agonizing for him to find that most of the farmers in the areas have lost their homes and lands to the floods and are living in shelters.

“We used to visit the villages a month before the fruit ripened to purchase the produce of the trees which we later harvested by our own and transported to the market”, he said adding that this year we did go there only to sympathize with them.

Brep village in Yarkhoon valley is known as the largest producing area of both local and non-local species of apple but the village is one of the worst affected villages of the district and this year not a single number of apple-loaded vehicle will leave the village for market, he said.

Sahib Wali, an official of agriculture department said that the devastating flood had washed away intake points of the irrigation channels throughout the valley disrupting the supply of water which resulted in the withering away of trees and cereal crops and apple trees were also affected which were on the verge of ripening.

He said that in some of the apple producing areas including Brep village, the produce of apple was at its highest this year but all this was spoiled by the floods while the only apple producing village left spared was that of Booni.

He said that no flood hit the Booni village, the headquarters of Mastuj tehsil, and it is the only village supplying the fruit to the local market only as the quantity is too low to feed the national market this year.

Mr. Wali said that thousands of trees of apple have been either washes away by flood in the affected areas or they have withered away in the absence of water which is essential for its nourishment and survival and said that we will have to wait for five to ten years to get back our apples.

Alim Jan, another fruit merchant in Atalique bazaar, came out with the story a good number of fruit merchants had purchased the produce of certain number of apple fruit trees in the affected areas well before two months before the season but the trees were washed away by flood to their bad luck.

“This was a usual practice to make payment in advance as the prices spiraled to a high during the season due to the competition”, he said adding that he was also one of such affected people and they cannot demand their money back from the farmers.


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