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Impact of unseasonal rains on strawberry harvest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Charsadda district, unseasonal torrential rains have prompted farmer Mirjan Khan to expedite the plucking of strawberries on his five acres of land. To mitigate financial losses anticipated from further rainfall forecasts, Khan employed six additional laborers for the harvest in Nisatta, close to the Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway.

The adverse weather has not only delayed the market arrival of strawberries but also inflicted significant financial losses on growers in regions such as Charsadda, Mardan, Nowshera, and Swat. According to Khan, the market for strawberries is smaller this year due to crop damage from recent heavy rains and flash floods affecting rivers Khayali, Kabul, and Shah Alam. Many farmers, who had delayed their cultivation until November, hoping to avoid spring rain impacts, faced their expectations being dashed by April's rainfall.

With the strawberry yield reduced in Charsadda, the retail prices may increase, though farmers like Khan anticipate no substantial profit due to higher crop mortality. Abdul Bari, Director General of Agriculture Research in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, highlighted that climate change-induced weather anomalies have detrimentally affected strawberry production. He noted that waterlogged conditions are unsuitable for strawberry cultivation, and that the seasonal shift due to climate change has also delayed the crop's arrival. Typically, strawberry cultivation begins in October, with fruiting occurring around January-February. However, delays in planting have adversely impacted production levels.


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