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TRANSFORMATION OF TRADITIONAL APRICOT PRODUCTION SYSTEM IN TO COMMERCIAL ORCHARDS IN GILGIT-BALTISTAN
The agro-climatic condition in Gilgit Baltistan is highly suitable for the production of deciduous fruits. Over the years’ fruit in GB has emerged as one of the potential sectors in accelerating the growth of rural economy. The fruit sector of Gilgit Baltistan faces a number of challenges including huge wastages. The reasons behind this wastage are; non availability of true to type fruit plants, high cost of plants at the time of planting season; lack of access to public and private fruit nurseries; non-availability of desired cultivars for marketing and absence of improved technologies in production system. The agriculture statistics (Agri department 2014) reported that total fruit production was 192,992 tones out of which 57,963 tones (30%) were wastages & losses. The only Apricot production was reported 125,184 tons annually out of which 7,238 tones fresh consumed & marketed whereas 43,730 tones are wasted annually which is 43% of the total produce.
The existing apricot varieties are traditional and highly perishable. These varieties due to its perishability are not suitable for marketing as fresh in down country. Currently around 50 percent of dried apricot and only 2 percent of fresh apricot is marketed. GB is highly suitable for production of apricot but the plantation is not organized and as a practice farmers plant different verities in one field/location. Due to varietal mixing issues, private companies such as processors, traders, commission agents, middlemen, exporters always face problems in meeting demand of their clients for desired varieties and volume. To ensure the economy of scale, improve bargaining power of the producers and reduce post-harvest losses there is need to transform the apricot value chain by establishing orchards of uniform and marketable verities.
 DOA Statistics 2014