Tourism and better roads to boost peach industry in Swat
PESHAWAR, July 26 (Gwadar Pro) -"Peach of Swat is the most famous here, the taste is very good. We sell from here to Pindi, Faisalabad, Lahore, Karachi and all other cities," said Bashir Ali, a peach seller in Swat.
"If they do good packing, it can last for three to four days." Nasir Khan, a Swat peach orchard owner, told us that the expiration date of peach is short so that the efficiency of transportation is very important. "Before Swat Motorway was built here, it took 5 to 6 hours to reach Pindi, now the vehicle can reach in 3.5 to 4 hours, which means that two hours have been saved in this way to Faisalabad, Lahore and Karachi." Recently, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan announced that he will try to make the second phase of Swat Motorway project a part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC). With that, Swat peaches can reach more cities.
In recent years, Swat has done a great job in boosting tourism. However, the peach industry there was not developed as fast. "The benefit that we get from tourism is very little, which is not more than 4 or 5 percent. It will be beneficial if the government gives some packages to the farmers and set up factories, etc. " Nasir said.
To combine peach industry with local tourism, Swat may get some inspiration from a small township in Xinjiang, China, where a Peach Flower Festival was held and it attracted many tourists. "For tourists who came to see peach blossoms, most of them came back to buy peaches when they were ripe. The economic benefits are particularly good," said Azezi Sadura, a villager in Layika Township in Xinjiang.
The peaches in Layika Township were not sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers before, and the yield was very poor. In 2020, the county cooperated with institutes and developed a sprinkler, which can adjust the spray pressure according to different stages of peach growth, which can help resist infestations and make peach blossoms more beautiful. "Experts come to give training to us. To encourage us to participate, we are paid 100 yuan a day if we go to the training. The yield of peaches is now twice as much as before," said a villager.
"We plan to build a platform for peach sales, combining peach production with e-commerce and rural tourism to make this industry stronger and bigger, which can also promote farmers' income," Liu Yuxing, deputy head of Layika Township told us.