My kingdom for some capsicum: Farmers clamour for bell pepper crop facilitation

Form association to work together to make growing pepper more profitable.

Shabbir Mir February 16, 2014


Farmers in Diamer Valley’s Goharabad have complained production of crops like capsicum is being obstructed by  lack of facilities such as certified seeds and water.

“While capsicum can become a major cash crop in the area, the lack of facilities makes it difficult for us to take it to its full potential and benefit from it,” noted Zarmas Khan, a farmer in Goharabad, which is located at a distance of 110 kilometres from Gilgit.

Khan is the president of the Capsicum Association (CA), a body formed by the Diamer Poverty Alleviation Project, a non-governmental organisation which works to address farmers’ issues. He was speaking at the association’s launch in Goharabad on Saturday. CA will be represented by more than 30 farmers involved in capsicum cultivation from across the valley.

“The production of the crop can increase manifold if we have guaranteed access to certified seeds, fertilisers and timely provision of water,” said Khan. He cited  lack of scientific training, availability of pesticides and market linkages as some of the loopholes identified by famers. These deprive them of accruing greater benefits from the crop.

“We need organisational support to overcome such issues,” said another farmer, Mujeebur Rehman. He hoped that formation of CA would further their ability to get the desired results.

Manzoor Qureshi, a senior official at the Northern Areas Development Project (NADP), said the purpose behind such a farmers’ body is to streamline their activities on a local level. “The association will help farmers get what they want.”

Talking about future plans, Qureshi claimed NADP will also assist CA in providing technical training to farmers. This will be in addition to providing them equipment and linking them with other organisations in the country.

Advocate Shakil Ahmed briefed the participants about legal requirements needed to get the body registered with authorities.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2014.


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