Wajid Ali bought three plum orchards after borrowing money hoping that he would buy a taxi car or Suzuki van after selling it and will also arrange expenses for sending his mother for Umrah.
However, his dream was shattered when his investment brought him loss. Thirty-two-year-old Wajid Ali, who lives in Chamkani area of Peshawar, told TNN that he is engaged in business of buying plum orchards for the last four years. He said he bought three plum orchards this year for Rs1.5 million and he had borrowed money for that. He said he is in deep trouble now after enduring Rs30,000 loss this year.
Peshawar is known for its good plum production but this year the production is 1,200 tons less than the yield in 2013 which is a cause of concern.
According to the statistics of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Agriculture Department, Peshawar produced 4,425 tons plum in 2013, while it has been reduced to 3,262 this year.
The data of the Agriculture Statistics of Pakistan show that Peshawar is the fourth largest district in the country for plum production. This year, Kalat district of Balochistan produced 10,177 tons plum, Mastung produced 6,022 tons, Quetta produced 5,420 tons and Swat produced 3,580 tons.
Experts attribute reduction in plum production to various reasons. One major reason behind this is climate change.
Professor Dr Akmal, a teacher at University of Agriculture Peshawar and expert in climate change, said while talking to TNN that plum production has been affected not only in Peshawar, but also in Nowshera due to the effects of climate change. He said the plum tree requires a specific temperature for proper production of the fruit during various stages.
Dr Akmal said the orchards are not getting the required temperature due to change in the weather patterns during the last few years. He said the pattern of rains has also changed in the region which has affected different crops and orchards.
“Rains are inconsistent and sometimes more than required rains along with strong winds and hailing badly damage the orchards. Plum fruit is not strong enough to sustain the impact of strong winds and hailing,” he said.
Dr Gohar Ayub, a professor in Horticulture Department at the Peshawar Agriculture University, also agrees with the point of view of Dr Akmal. He said the plum trees require temperature in the range of 17-18 degrees centigrade in the end of February, but unfortunately the temperature in our region now reaches to 25-30 degrees centigrade during that period. He said strong winds, rains and hailing affects the plum production.
The plum production has been affected in other parts of the country as well due to which thousands of people, like Wajid Ali, suffered losses.