Grape is one of the most profitable summer fruit crops.Currently, grapes are grown on 15,280 hectares, mostly in Balochistan, as well as in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and the Potohar region. Grapes in the Potohar region are harvested before the monsoon season (June), when it is not available from other parts of the country. This seasonality gives the region a competitive advantage. The Agribusiness Project(TAP) has been supporting the plantation of vineyards in Potohar since 2013, where mostly two early-ripening seedless grape varieties, Flame Seedless and King’s Ruby, are grown.
TAP has been involved in the establishment of vineyards with trellises (support system), both with members of Farmer Enterprise Groups (FEGs) as well as large, independent grape growers in the Potohar region. The project’s interventions also include capacity building of farmers in improved pre- and post-harvest practices, quality improvement, as well as market promotion of the produce in high-end local markets. Export opportunities for quality seedless grapes from Potohar are also being explored. For this purpose, bigger projects, such as the establishment of pre-cooling and packing units, have been envisioned.
The project aims to promote and strengthen an economically viable and sustainable grape industry in the ICT and Potohar region, and thereby create employment opportunities and enhance income of target households and grape value chain players.An average of 350 tons of grape production is expected annually from the existing and newly planted vineyards for sale in both the domestic and international markets. With its interventions, the project aims to create 1,300 new jobs, attract private sector investment worth USD 1 million and benefit more than 900 rural households.
- Provide technical assistance to build and enhance capacity of grape growers in productivity and quality improvement, through interventions like building trellises and netting against birds.
- Improve post-harvest handling and marketing through introduction of harvesting, packing and pre-cooling techniques.
- Introduction of new exotic varieties of grapes plants to existing progressive Grape farmers
- Support, guide and train farmers in planting new vineyards as well as improve existing ones.
- Organize grape growers into functional groups/associations to plan and implement value chain interventions.
- Build capacity of vineyard owners and farm managers in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), marketing and value addition.
- Provide training in pre- and post-harvest management including pruning, irrigation, fertilization, disease and canopy management, picking, grading, handling, storage and packaging.
- Hold workshops with value chain stakeholders to develop and strengthen market linkages.
- Help the growers to develop linkages for the marketing and export of quality seedless grapes to high-end national and international markets.
- Provide support for branding and packaging to ensure better marketability.
- Organize exposure visits to identified markets/country to experience best practices of model grape value chains.
For the first time, I have sold 75% of my farm to the contractor before harvest,” said Wasiq Khan, a grape farmer from the Potohar Region