STAFF REPORT IBD: Farmers are regularly losing billions of rupees especially in Balochistan mainly due to the rising input costs which is causing decline in agriculture output by 50 per cent.
“The Balochistan’s agriculture sector was in decline because of energy costs rising, leading many to abandon the sector altogether,” said spokesperson of the Falahi Anjuman Wholesale Vegetable Market, Shaikh Waqar Ahmed.
He said that Balochistan has seen a rising trend of imports as domestic prices have risen on falling production. Apples, for example, are increasingly being sourced from Australia and New Zealand.
Ahmed said that the government should intervene and provide support for the growers, saying that if the fruit and vegetables sector is assisted it can flourish, providing food not just domestically, but also for exports.
Director of Planning at Harvest Tradings, Azam Ishaque said that the area was fortunate in its environment, which was ideal for the cultivation of a wide variety of fruits.
“It has the capacity to generate around $500 million, subject to proper infrastructure and market access from Gwadar port,” he claimed.
Balochistan is still Pakistan’s second largest fruit and vegetable producing area and the largest when it comes to dates, onions and certain fruits, including apples, apricots, grapes and pomegranates.