Observer Report Islamabad
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will help increase Pakistan’s dates cultivation, according to a report carried by Gwadar Pro on Thursday.
The CPEC is poised to usher in a new era of trade and growth, Pakistani date growers pin their hopes on its different projects to help bring revolution in date farming.
The newly built motorways under CPEC are making the dates’ market accessible to farmers and helping them bring the latest machines and modern farming tools to their farms in remote parts of the country.
The report says, the consumption of dates, especially in its natural form, is an essential part of the Ramadan diet; dates are an unmissable part of iftar (breaking of fast) and Suhur (pre-dawn meal).
Dates are the third largest horticulture crop in Pakistan, which is found in all four provinces of the country.
Pakistan produces one of the best dates in the world and the country has the potential to become a leader in date production and export; however, due to connectivity problems, lack of suitable agricultural machinery and date processing units, the desired results have not been achieved so far.
According to the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), dates are cultivated over 99 thousand hectares of land with productions of around 540,000 tons annually.
Pakistan ranks sixth in dates’ productions in the world with over 300 date varieties in the country including Dhakki, Dhakki Dried, Shareefa, Muzawati, Kupro, Hillavi, Aseel and Rabbi Etc.
As the name Dhakki shows, these dates with exotic taste are cultivated in the Dhakki area of D.I Khan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Dhakki has established itself in national and international markets; however, market access is one of the problems that discourage farmers from growing dates on a large scale.
Hakla-D.I Khan Motorway (M-16), under CPEC, is near to its completion.2The 292-kilometer motorway will provide the farmers of Dhakki and other adjoining areas with easy access to the market.
“Motorway would bring our products to the main markets of the country,” date grower Arsalan Baloch told Gwadar Pro and he added, “Farmers would no longer be exploited to sell their products at low prices.”
According to Arsalan Baloch, the farmers would now utilize the motorway and would grow dates on all of their cultivable lands.
“We would be able to frequently invite agriculture experts from Islamabad and other cities to examine our crops,” Mr. Baloch said.