The CPEC is poised to usher in a new era of trade and growth, Pakistani date growers pin their hopes on its different projects to help bring revolution in date farming. The newly built motorways under CPEC are making the dates’ market accessible to farmers and helping them bring the latest machines and modern farming tools to their farms in remote parts of the country. Dates are the third largest horticulture crop in Pakistan, which is found in all four provinces of the country. Pakistan ranks sixth in dates’ productions in the world with over 300 date varieties in the country including Dhakki, Dhakki
Dried, Shareefa, Muzawati, Kupro, Hillavi, Aseel and Rabbi Etc. As the name Dhakki shows, these dates with exotic taste are cultivated in the Dhakki area of D. I Khan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa .
We would be able to frequently invite agriculture experts from Islamabad and other cities to examine our crops,” Baloch said. Muhammad Shah, another farmer said, “Dhakki is suitable for dates’ nurseries and our saplings have demands in markets but we could not send them to distant cities due to poor conditions of roads and long journeys,” he said and he added, “We would also bring the latest machinery to use them in our farming». DI Khan and its surrounding districts of southern KP also lack dates processing factories and dry dates’ warehouses. The farmers of Dhakki are expecting dates processing units in their area in the near future.
The KP government has proposed 3125-acre Daraban Special Economic Zone D. I Khan under CPEC. The farmers of the southern parts of KP expect to have industries and processing units in the special economic zones. “Our dates and its products would be exported directly to foreign countries through the special economic zone,” Zahid Bittani, a farmer from Tank district told Gwadar Pro. Abdul Karim Tordher, Special Assistant to CMPK on Industries said that as first priority the government would provide space to industries and food processing units that process local raw materials.
Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Jhang, Bahawalpur and Multan are dates producing areas in Punjab. CPEC’s motorways are passing through all these dates producing areas of the country, making the jobs of the farmers easy. “Connectivity will help us increase dates farming and its yields,” Nan Lal, who deals in dates, told Gwadar Pro via phone from Sukkar, the report added.