In Pakistan’s district of Mardan the number of fruits orchards is growing gradually as more and more people are planting fruit orchards where they used to grow sugarcane. There may be many reasons for this, but the decline in demand and consistently low prices of sugarcane for the past few years are considered the prime causes.
Muhammad Irshad of Charchoor village is one such farmer who recently planted peach and apricot orchards over 12 acres of his land: “We have been planting sugarcane crop for the last few decades. With the start of sugarcane crushing season every year, we expect reasonable prices and reward for our hard work but we get disappointed almost every time.” He said that though the prices of sugarcane fluctuate every season and farmers would sometimes earn some profit, the prices remained consistently low for the past few years.
“Previously the border with Afghanistan was open and besides other items, gur was also exported as it was in high demand there. The farmers were able to get better returns for their gur. But the border often remained closed due to hostilities between Pakistan and Afghanistan which is affecting the growers,” he told thenews.com.pk.