Kalash selling agri products at throwaway prices

CHITRAL, July 20: Most Kalash growers sell red beans and walnuts well before the harvesting season at throwaway price due to poverty. walnutsTash Khan, a resident of Rumbur valley, said Kalash valleys were known for producing red beans, lobia, of high quality, which was grown in each household. He said the people also owned a good number of walnut trees and sold their produce at throwaway price. “Kalash people suffer from abject poverty and desperately need cash to make ends meet, a situation that forces them to sell produce at a very low price,” he said. Mr Khan said red beans and walnuts were cultivated in March and harvested in September but growers sold them well before cultivation to meet household needs. He said red beans and walnuts were purchased by traders at half the price they fetched during the harvesting season. The local residents said red beans and walnuts were the two major source of income for Kalash people. Shopkeeper Habeeb Shai in Bumburate valley said the price of a kilogramme beans was Rs120 in the season, while it was purchased at the rate of Rs50 to Rs60 in March. “The price of walnut is Rs200 per kg and it is purchased at less than Rs100 per kg in March when the growers desperately need cash to avert starvation,” he said. Zargul Kalash, a farmer of Krakal Bumburate, said he cultivated red beans in two of his three fields and sold the produce of one of them this year. “To meet some of my urgent needs, I had to sell the produce of three of my seven walnut trees,” he said, adding that such was the case with almost all other farmers of the valley. He said a fraction of the money was used in purchasing seeds, pesticides and fertilizers as such items were not given to them on credit by shopkeepers.–Dawn]]>

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