Given that Pakistan is largely agriculture based, it is not surprising when you find that it has one of the biggest canal based irrigation system. A country with a forte in agriculture, it should strive to excel in that. It can use latest products from technology sector to innovate its agriculture, but we do not see it happening. Fortunately, a small group of women in Khairpur have realized this and are using a new drying technique in date production.
Traditional date production in Khairpur
Khairpur is a city that contributes to almost 40% of the annual date production of Pakistan. Even though 40% of the dates are coming from this city, the way it is produced is still very traditional. Even today, people lay the crop out in the sun for the natural heat to dry it up. During this traditional process, the yield gets largely contaminated by the wind and wandering animals. Imagine, how unhygienic that must be!
Sadly, only 1% of the entire production is of enough quality that it goes through value added processing.
WADO leaves its mark on agriculture
Women Agriculture Development Organisation or WADO for short, is an NGO that helps women in the field of agriculture. They enabled almost 20 women with innovative technology that involves solar and tunnel dryer. The technology covers the dates to protect it from contamination and colour fading. The dates production conducted through this drying technique leads to refined crops.
The process of date production
The women pick the dates from the fields. They clean them up and lay them out on drying trays.
After being dried and graded, dates are packed in airtight packages.
In conversation with a publication, WADO spokesperson, said that during the harvest season, these Pakistani women are able to produce around 37 kilograms of high quality dates.
Employing these techniques can double the amount dates were sold at.
The women involved in the process earn almost Rs. 10,000 every harvest season. This could contribute to a number of women gaining economic independence.
While this is an innovative technique, it only amounts to a handful of date yield because the farmers lack such date processing units; Not to mention the amount of dates lost to rain.
However, it is speculated that some foreign companies have become interested in the process and will soon make date units available. Hopefully, the 40% date production from Khairpur will now contribute the entire of its 100% yield in the value added process and not just the 1%.
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