Unfortunately, unusual and untimely rains coupled with hail storms in this season -February to May- this year destroyed many peach laden orchards in Pakistan.
One orchardist saw his orchards in the Swat valley destroyed. “Untimely rains coupled with hail storms during the season from February to May completely destroyed the orchards I had obtained on lease basis, depriving me of all my investment and income,” said the grower. “Cultivators are always mindful of losses to crops due to calamities and diseases, but enormous devastation destroying the whole produce is unexpected even for those associated with the practice from generations.”
Peaches are the second important stone fruit in Pakistan after plum and is considered as most favorite after mango because of its sweetness, juiciness, fleshiness, attractive flavour and aroma.
In Swat, 70 percent population out of the total 2.4 million is associated with farming and current years’ weather changes have badly impacted livelihood of about one million cultivators.
“In Pakistan, total area under peach cultivation is estimated as 14350 hectares while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa peach growing land is 10028 hectares,” says Samiullah Gandapur, Director Crop Reporting Services Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In 32 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the maximum area of land under peach trees is in Swat, measuring 7300 ha.
In 2019, Swat produced 53,875 tons of peach out of the total of 73,201 tons produced in KP, constituting 73.59 percent of total production of the province. According to the Statistical report on crop reporting, Pakistan produced 72536 tons of peach in 2017-18 while KP produced 56776 tons during that period.