Crops and orchards in Swat face crisis.
Swat, the fruit and vegetable basket of the country, famous for its fresh and dry fruits and off-season/seasonal vegetables faces a crisis due to a hailstorm. The valley of Swat is also famous for high quality potato, turnip, cabbages, cauliflower, and salad plants, etc.
The recently hailstorm has destroyed maize crop, off-season vegetables and orchards on thousands of acres in tehsil Khwazakhela, Madyan and Matta. The financial impact of hailstorm, according to farmers in Miandam, is around Rs. 800 million. According to agricultural officer of Khwazakhela Adalat Khan, preliminary damage assessment puts the loss at around Rs 720 million.
The storm has destroyed maize crop, vegetables, peas, French beans and orchards of pears, red and black persimmon on hundreds of acres in union council Miandam.
According to initial investigations, 50-80%of Peas crop, 40-60% of French beans and 40% of special maize crop (used in popcorns) have been ruined. Black and red persimmon, pears and strawberry runners/seedlings, sold to strawberry farmers to grow the fruit in down country farms, were also hit severely. Loss of peas, French beans and strawberry alone accounts for around Rs 250 million.
Around 30% of apple, 40% of red persimmon and 45% of black one, 45% of rice crop, 40% of maize, 30%of peas, 40% of French beans, 25% of tomato and 58% strawberry seedlings have been destroyed by the storm.