Beer Valley, District Haripur
Ghafoori Jan, wife of Muhammad Ayub has a considerably big kitchen garden, spanning nearly five marla. She grows unbelievable amount of vegetables: there is garlic, spinach, ridge gourd, coriander, brinjals, okra, bottle gourd, green chillies. This season spinach also flourished. Then there are fruit trees: orange, guava, Japanese medlar and apricot, “I don’t need to buy anything from the market. The fresh supply of both vegetables and fruit is good enough for us”, she says.
Ghafoori’s nephew who is also a Kissan Councilor (a member of Union Council) shared that he had contacted Amjad (RSP for NMA) to help his Aunt and some other farmers for good quality fruit trees. Amjad came forward with his supply of tree saplings and information but mostly passed on to the women through his wife for better interaction. Ghafoori got to learn about plantation, space, watering intervals and more. She was also shown how detrimental the fresh dung was for her plants, and was instead taught how to make compost using the same organic manure from her animals, leaves and kitchen waste.
“I water my plants using the water from the tube well. I had been concerned because some of my old trees were shedding fruit too early. So I desperately sought help from Amjad’s wife. And the problem turned out to be that the plants were growing in my cemented yard having no space to spread their roots, hence no food”. Ghafoori rectified that by obtaining saplings of eight different types to grow in open ground and was also shown that instead of planting under the shade of another tree, she should plant separately so as to grow in full sunlight. “I also learnt that our common practice of growing a young tree in the shade of an older was wrong as well because due to competition for nutrients, the weaker will definitely perish”, says a much better informed Ghafoori.
Ghafoori Jan is a serious farmer, she knows what is good for her land and her people. She prefers giving good seeds away for free, terming it a “sadqa e jarria”. For the future, she reiterated how essential it is to hold a comprehensive training on making of compost, the structures needed (“it ought to be made at every hamlet level so that many people could benefit from it and even contribute towards it”). Says Ghafoori “We also want to have a tank for watering plants in case the tube well is ever out of order so that the supply of water to our kitchen gardens should not cease or better still to teach us water harvesting methods so that we can store surplus rain water”, says Ghafoori, giving ideas on what needs to be done further.
So much has her knowledge elevated that Ghafoori knows that local farmers are not demanding mango and lychee anymore, mostly because these are not as productive if produced through seeds. She also explains that the plants of orange, Japanese medlar, apricot and guava are planted in March and will take 2-3 years to give fruit. “I have a huge interest in plants. At the moment I am growing green grapes in my yard. My apricots may give some fruit next year as it is usually said that the old branch bears fruit in the next season. I am also interested in growing black grapes, chiku and lychee”. Interestingly, during the discussion Ghafoori says “The guava tree is not successful in these parts because the wild life especially wild boars damage guava but it is strange that they do not touch orange. But the wild life Department needs to help us out with this menace”.
Ghafoori Jan is a serious farmer, she knows what is good for her land and her people. She has a considerably big kitchen garden where she grows unbelievable amount of vegetables and that too with all natural ingredients. Her home is blossoming with fruit trees. Ghafoori is amused yet sounds relieved when she says, “our kids prefer eating fruit fresh from the trees instead of buying artificial juices from tuck shops”. That is a big laurel in itself, Ghafoori Jan, may your garden grow more abundant!
Ghafoori is amused yet sounds relieved when she says, “our kids prefer eating fruit fresh from the trees instead of buying artificial juices from tuck shops”. That is a big laurel in itself, Ghafoori Jan, may your garden grow more abundant!