Akhunzada Rahmatullah, president of the organisation of local farmers, told Dawn that almost 95 per cent of the households derived a portion of their sustenance from agriculture in one way or the other but the response of the government was halfhearted towards the sector?s development.
He said putting an end to the holding of an annual exhibition of agricultural products for the farmers for the last 22 years was an example of the indifferent attitude of the government though it was a source of promoting farming as profession in Chitral for being an annual congregation of farmers.
?The farmers coming from different valleys of Chitral used to share their experience with each other on the occasion and thus, improving agricultural produce and growing new crop varieties,? he said.
Mr Rahmatullah said the spirit of competition to gain rewards and prominence encouraged farmers to adopt different methods of farming and to take special care of vegetables and fruits and thus, improving agriculture sector overall.
?The history of agricultural exhibition dates back to 1940s when the rulers of Chitral used to arrange the exhibition of fruits and vegetables and rewarded the winners with lands,? he said.
When contacted, an official of the agriculture department acknowledged that the agricultural exhibition helped promote farming by encouraging farmers.
He however insisted that the shortage of funds stopped the department from holding the event. The official said a large sum of money was required to hold the exhibition, which the cash-starved department didn?t have.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2018