Saturday September 25, 2021

Modernity making inroads into KP’s remote areas

PESHAWAR: The newly introduced Chinese ‘hand tractors’ are replacing bulls to plough the agricultural fields throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa particularly in the far-flung hilly areas.

The farmers in Swat, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Shangla, Chitral and others remote areas, who have small landholdings, use bulls to plough their lands. The blacksmiths are also losing livelihood due to the introduction of the new technology. They used to sharpen ploughs and other primitive farming tools.

Though the ‘hand tractors’ are useful as these save time of farmers, livelihood opportunities for the blacksmiths have shrunk. It has also affected the local culture. The blacksmiths and the ones attached with the business said they used special kind of wood ‘Raakhkol’ in preparation of the farming implements.

Another special type of wood ‘Tafaga’ has almost depleted due to deforestation. The locals recalled that they had been selling ‘Raakhkol’, which the people used in making axes and others agricultural tools.

They said there were local experts who prepared ‘Jegh’ which keeps two bulls together while ploughing agricultural land.Similarly, there were experts who prepare wooden plough while the blacksmiths made a blade for it.

They said the price of a Chinese ‘hand tractor’ fitted with a diesel engine ranged from Rs100,000 to Rs300,000. The hand tractor, they said, could plough a piece of land within a short span of time, which was previously ploughed by five pairs of bulls during the entire day.

Though the hand tractor is useful, it has rendered many people jobless, the farmers said, adding that one hand tractor was sufficient for the entire village and the people could plough their agricultural land within a few hours to save time.

They said one bull and a wooden plough could be purchased for Rs50,000 to Rs200,000. The arrival of the ‘hand tractors’ has affected the business of the ones, who raised bulls for renting then out for ploughing. The old ways of farming, they said, were environment-friendly as the use of the new technology is causing pollution.