Export Opportunity of Swat
Swat is a beautiful valley; it is a land of abundant water, mountains and plants, it is famous for its scenic beauty, culture remains and orchards etc. It has a long rich remarkable history that can be traced back to 3000 B.C.
Civil Conflict in Swat
Unfortunately, This Beautiful land faced civil conflict. The immediate costs of the conflict is loss of human lives, destruction of property and infrastructure and curtailment of short-term economic activity. Additionally, terrorism creates uncertainty, reduces confidence and increases risk perceptions; leading to lower rates of investment and lower economic growth.
The threat of terrorism, results in consistent conflicts that may lead to uncertainty in the local business environment hence the normal business requires more time and extra security. Thus, terrorism leads to a general slowdown in economic activity. Moreover, the terrorists have challenged the writ of the government by creating chaos and uncertain conditions that have tarnished the soft image of Pakistan.
Government is trying to maintain peace in the region, main challenge is to create secure environment to regain trust of both customers and investors. One main issue is that Swat is damaged by war and after two years of rehabilitation efforts on 28th July 2010, dangerous flood tides started from Kalam Valley. Infrastructure of swat was already damaged by military operation and this flood has further deteriorated the conditions. It has completely washed out 36km long road from Kalam to Madyan. Almost 200,000 people have been affected by the flood, 1,700 houses were swept away, and 15 main connective bridges were destroyed. Flood has also affected vegetables, fruits and its production areas in Swat.
Government Efforts to revive Swat Businesses
Government is heavily investing in development projects in Swat. Sectors of development includes
- Improvement / Development of Irrigation Facilities and Construction of Channelization, and its railing
- Construction of Gravity based Water Supply Schemes, Construction of Tube Wells, Construction of Irrigation Scheme.
Construction of Infrastructure
- On 7th July 2010 University of Swat was established and it is the first university in District Swat.
- Establishment of Cadet College Swat
- Construction of residential colony for Government employees, Swat.
- Roads and bridges
- Design and construction of bus terminals in swat including land cost.
- Construction of hostel and lecture theaters and laboratories at Saidu Medical College.
- Construction of 24 water supply schemes was completed in Swat and Lower Dir.
- Development, Improvement and Projection of Swat Museums
- Improvement /Rehabilitation / Renovation of Trout Hatcheries
- Establishment of picnic spots at suitable places in Malam Jaba, District Swat.
- Rehabilitation of Fizagat Park.
- Swat Festival: Kalam festival is a cultural and recreational event, held every year in the month of July or August. The days, when plain areas of Pakistan are hot and humid, tourists are enjoying cold weather in Kalam. The festival is organized by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tourism Department in collaboration with thePakistan Army.
- Construction of Police Line, Development of Police Infrastructure, Re-Construction of District
- Jail, Swat
- Establishment of Emergency Rescue Services (Rescue 1122) in District Swat (PC- II approved).
Italian government has funded US$ 10 million in Early Recovery of Agriculture and livelihood Program (ERALP) under Pak Italian Debt Swap Agreement (PIDSA). Aim of project was to help in restoring food security and sustain livelihoods in Swat. This fund was utilized in promoting Agriculture and livestock in the region.
Provincial Reconstruction Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA) launched different projects for promotion of Entrepreneurs in the Swat. An example is US $ 1.8 million were utilized for providing agriculture tools, livestock’s and poultry to 7,200 conflict affected families.
In Malakand division government has provided Rs310 Million subsidy to Telenor (Telecom Company) for basic telephony and data services in the region.
Agriculture has a huge share in Pakistan’s economy. It contributes more than one-fifth to its GDP and employs almost 45% of the labor force. Sales tax on tractors has been reduced from 16 percent to 10 percent. Agriculture produce suffers great losses for lack of processing and transport facilities in Swat. Government will introduce a policy to support processing projects. The policy includes tax free and duty free import of machinery and plus Long Term Financing Facility (LTFF) and five year tax holiday.
US $2.1 million are awarded under the project Value Chain Development Project (2011-2014); this project will support three sectors benefitting 36,000 households. These three sectors are textile, honey and agriculture.
The project supports the development of three value chains benefitting 36,000 households.
Total cost of SME Recovery Assistance Project by FIRMS is US $5.25 million. in this project 261 SMEs were revived. Among which 239 were hotels and 22 were private trout farms. 650 individuals were trained for hotel business and fish/potatoes farming. 661 Full time jobs were created. The project also developed market linkages of Swat Potato farmers with PepsiCo which purchased 129 tons in 2011.
Restoration of business activities is still a challenge, Government has launched different developmental projects and made policies to revive business activities. When civil conflict exploded in Swat in 2007, tourism industry has almost shut down; moreover small business also faced losses.
Export Opportunity of Swat
It has a fertile soil and its fruits orchids are main cash crops, this region is famous for its apples, forests of Pines and Deodars and its medicinal plants. It exports fruits to the world, and is producer of very high-quality honey. Swat had a large mining industry and is famous for production of handicrafts, it has a huge textile industry.
According to agriculture extension department, Swat has over 13,000 hectares land for cultivation of different fruits, Swat produced up to 100,000 tonnes of fruits in 2014. Of the total production, 23,940 tonnes were peaches. Main species of fruit cultivated in swat are walnut, apricot, pears, loquat, plum and grape. In 2013-2014 area devoted for cultivation of vegetables is 7254 hectors and for fruits is 12,465 hectors and total production is 138,818 tonnes and 90932 tonnes respectively. According to Agriculture Extension Department Swat (AED), Production of fruits in 2012-2013 was 23,940 tonnes of peaches, 28,435 tonnes of apple and 12,360 tonnes of persimmon. Production of vegetables in 100240 tonnes of onion, 7910 tonnes of tomato and 10315 tonnes of peas.
Bee keeping in Swat is very common. Honey from Swat is cherished not only for its medicinal value, but also for its high quality and purity throughout the world. The indigenous occupation of beekeeping has been active in the valley since times immemorial, when people keep honeybees in muddy pots in their houses. The small honeybees get nectar in the spring, and produce pure honey, which is sold for high value in international market.
Mineral resources (Marble and Emerald)
White and green marble of high quality is particularly famous with large reserves found in Saidu Sharif, Spal Bandai, Khadag, Ghaligay, Parrai, Malam Jabba and Ghakhi Kandaw. Swat marble is considered to be more durable and lustrous than the marble found in other parts of the world. Many types or marbles are extracted from Swat, and they are exported internationally in raw and finished form. Major colors of marbles are white, black, grey, brown and yellow.
Emeralds are mined in Swat and exported to local as well as international markets. They were discovered in 1958; the precious emerald mines are still yielding meager revenue because of unavailability of skilled laborers, latest machinery and cutting and polishing facilities. The mine in Fizzagat, near the district headquarters Mingora, is functional while one each in Shamozai, Swat, and Shangla district are closed for the last many years.
These blankets are known as “Sharai”. They are prepared of wool obtained from the local sheep. The weight of a medium-size blanket is four kilos. This is the best source of warmth during severe winters. The blankets are woven in Dewlai, Kala Kalay, Salampur, Puran, and Ghurband. These villages prepare the items on a commercial scale.
Shawls are woolen sheets, light in weight. Sometimes, cotton is added. Shawls are prepared in Salampur and Dewlai “Jolabad”.
Rugs are made from local fleeces, prepared in the villages by pressing wool with the help of water spray. After preparation, it is beautified with the use of color. Rugs were the traditional carpets of shepherds, but now are used everywhere.
The embroidery of Swat is famous. This art is an indoor hobby of the ladies in Swat, particularly in Nekpikheil.
Panrey or Panrhey is the traditional embroidery of shoes, still used by the old persons in Swat. They are made in Swat with tanned leather. The cobblers make ladies shoes and sandals adorned with golden lace work.
A Shkor is a pot in which chapattis (bread used in India and Pakistan) are kept. The ordinary Shkors are prepared everywhere in Swat. A special design is made in Puran and Chagharzee. (These Shkors are high-based pots made of wheat stalks with art, not easily available in other areas of the country).
Cots, tables, chairs, dressing tables, and cradles are made in Mingora, and in nearly all large villages in Swat. Old and traditional furniture is being prepared in Swat with great serenity and beauty. This matchless beautiful furniture is prepared with wood and leather and has high durability, it is very comfortable and robust to use. This furniture is prepared since many decades in Tehsil Matta of Swat.
Some local factory gives a hundred year guarantee of their furniture. According to a local old craftsman who has been working in the industry since his childhood; Sofa sets, pillows and cot are prepared in Swat are durable for forty to fifty years.