PESHAWAR - General Manager Outreach (GMOR) Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Javed Iqbal Khattak has said that the authority was going to establish Fruit Dehydration Unit at Swat.

Talking to media person here Wednesday, he said that against the world's dried fruit demand of about 0.95 million tons, the supply of Pakistan is only 8,000 tons with an estimated foreign exchange of about $50 million. He said that district Swat has enormous potential for the production of dehydrated fruits, producing 71,265 tons apple, apricot, peach, pear and persimmon. But, around 28,000 tons of them are wasted. With all these facts 7,127 tons of fruits will be available for the dehydration purpose. Currently only a handful of the growers are sun drying the persimmon of the district, but due to the reliance upon weather dependent manual techniques the quantity and quality remains far below the actual potential.

Keeping in view these facts, he said the authority has proposed the establishment of a Fruit Dehydration CFC project with an installed capacity of 175 tons of fruit and vegetable per year along with a washing, slicing, packing, and storing facility.

The project will facilitate the fruit growers for value addition while directly employing 16 people. The project would also provide indirect employment to people in transportation, raw material supply, distribution and sales of dehydzated fruits.