CHITRAL: Saffron and olive cultivation at a large scale will help in poverty alleviation in Chitral, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman on Saturday.
During a visit to saffron and olive fields in Jinjiret village near Drosh town, the governor said 400,000 hectares of land in the province, including Chitral, had been found to be ideal for saffron and olive farming, so it should be used for the purpose to the maximum.
He said Rs1 trillion could be generated annually by saffron growing, while more than half of it could be obtained from Chitral alone, whose areas from Arandu to Brooghil was best for it.
Mr Farman said the saffron price was as high as Rs1 million per kg in the international market and its only one gramme cost Rs1,000.
“I foresee the alleviation of poverty in Chitral in the next three years when the saffron crop will be marketed,” he said.
The governor said unemployment could be eliminated through the cultivation of saffron on commercial scale and olive farming.
He said the government would help the people for the purpose by providing free seeds, technical help and access to the international market.
Mr Farman said that the plantation of olive on large scale had been found to be quite inspiring during the last three years and it would lessen the burden on national economy as a large amount of hard-earned money was spent on the import of cooking oil.
He said that the project would enable the country to export olive oil in large quantity.
The governor said he would recommend to the provincial government for strengthening the department of agriculture and increase its volume of budget in the forthcoming fiscal year.
He also distributed Kissan Cards among farmers in Chitral region after visiting farms of saffron and olive in different many areas.
Special assistant to the chief minister Wazirzada and local PTI leaders Abdul Latif, Sartaj Ahmed Khan, Sajjad Ahmed Khan and Israr Saboor were also present on the occasion.
Haji Sultan, a representative of the local farmers, highlighted progress on saffron and olive farming in the area and issues confronted by growers.