Flash flood destroyed apple crops in upper Chitral
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
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.