By Murad Khan
MOHMAND: After covering 4-5 km distance from the Famous Nahqi Tunnel in Mohmand Tribal District, we reached D-Chowk, from where we turned towards Ghazibeg and the most beautiful small valley of Hazara. It was 27th September and sun was just on the roof of my Van (Carry Bolan). The weather was not so much hot, as there were clouds around the top of hills.
Covering 3-4 km from D-Chowk, we reached a green field of Bitter melon (karela in local Pashto Language), I was surprised, and when I see some Urdu speaking men packing Bitter melon in special cotton packs here in the backward area of Tehsil Haleemzai. Upon inquiring, we were told that this is the special Bitter melon, which will reach to Gulf countries in coming 24 to 48 hours, from where it will be distributed in all over the world.
From the last one year, this special bitter melon was cultivated and prepared for foreign export here in the most beautiful valley of Hazara village of Kamali Haleemzai Tehsil. Not only bitter melon, but various other vegetables, fruits and grain crops are cultivated here in this fertile area of Mohmand Tribal District, as the climate of most areas of tribal district Mohmand is suitable for growing various vegetables and grain crops.
The Owner, landlord and business Mr. Israel Khan cultivates karela, Arya gourd, Apple Gourd (Fistolosus or Tenda in local language), and chilies on more than 1000 acres of land in Tehsil Haleemzai. Mr. Isreal Khan said “The natural fertility of this soil is equivalent to the fertile soil of London, as both the soils have 6.5 ph value.” He said “apart from grain crops, large quantities of coriander, chilies, bitter gourd, Apple Gourd(Tenda), a Special Gourd called Ariya(kadu Or lokki), tomatoes and onions are grown in Hazara villages of Tamanzai, Kandari, Ambar, Dwizai, Daneshkol and Kamali.”
Explaining the details about his business and landholding, Mr Israel Khan said” I basically belong to Kamali Halimzai Yusuf Khel, but I am living in Dagi Mirabad area of District Charsada. Me and my five other brothers are doing this business from the last 20-25 years. I was cultivating vegetables in Charsada and Mardan districts, but long time ago, when I visited my hometown, I saw some best vegetables here. When I saw some best vegetables here in Daag and Tamanzai areas, my interest in the land here arose. In order to fulfill my desire, I took about 100 acres of land on lease in Daag Tamanzai and start cultivation of different kind of vegetabl on these fields.”
About the international export Mr Isreal said” I am supplying vegetables nationally and internationally and I was very happy to start my business in Mohmand, as here the soil fertility and PH is equal to the land of London, as I have checked this soil by agriculture experts, apart from this, there is no invasion of insects on the vegetable crops and that’s why this area has unique quality in all over the country, as the cultivation of second grade crops of bitter melon, Fistolosus and gourd is very much successful here.”
About the export business of vegetables to foreign countries Isreal said” on daily basis more than 4 thousand kilogram of bitter melon is exported nationally and internationally just from this small area of Haleemzai, thousands of kilos of bitter gourd, round pumpkin named areya, Fistolosus, Cucumber, Beans, Pea, onion, Potato and tomato is exported to European and Gulf countries on a daily basis, due to which the foreign exports get good profits, while the country’s exchequer receives various taxes and the shipping industry also gets benefits. “
Mr Isreal added “The basic aim of doing business here is to make local landowners use to of investment and export of goods including modern agriculture along with earning profit.” He suggested that Issuing conditional loans by Government will solve former’s problems, ultimately they will be able to afford and run the existing expensive fertilizers and tractors. He said that the land of the area is very suitable for agricultural production as we have cultivated Fistolosus and peas on another 35 acres of land to produce seasonal vegetables. The shipping sector also gets profit from the national exchequer and foreign exports in the form of various taxes including economic improvement.
The district president of Anjuman-e-Zamindaran Malik Gulab Sher said that our village Hazara is a fertile land, which is full of every kind of minerals, that’s all kinds of fruits, vegetables and crops are cultivated here. He demanded the government to establish a vegetable market for the improvement of agriculture and the convenience and profit of Zamindars at the local level. he said if the government establish water tankers for water storage and the livestock department distribute cows dorms here, they will find cent per cent result. He added that TMAs suffering from financial losses may also find it difficult.
According to environmental scientist, Pakistan is emitting less than 1% of Carbon into ozone, but in all over the world, its number 7th country which is suffering from severe climate changes and the result of these climate changes we saw before a month in the form of glassier melting and devastating flood, which destroyed the countless Biodiversity and huge amount of infrastructural loss were reported. The convention of Biodiversity is planning its 15th meeting of Conference of Parties, which will take important decisions about the life of countless life on the earth in the form of biodiversity. If Pakistani Govt. officials raise the climate issue and include the formers of Mohmand tribal district and other formers in the indigenous community of biodiversity, it will change the fate of these formers socially and economically.
The Writer is Radio Producer and freelance Environmental Journalist, who tweets on @Muradonline123