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HORTICULTURE ECONOMY OF ZANDRA: PEOPLE RELATED TO APPLE ECONOMY

Posted by Connie R. Aponte on November 15, 2013 in Capitalist Economies |

There are many individuals in the village who are in one way or the other involved in production, distribution and sale of apple. Apple economy of the village is based on a complete cycle of individual efforts that are related to apple economy for their earnings. Their role in the apple economy and how they are organized is explained as under.

Owner of the Orchard

The horticulturalists of the village could be divided into the following three categories.

Owner Cultivators: Majority of the villagers falls under this category and includes medium and small landholders. Mostly they do not employ labour and prefer to work in the fields by themselves. They perform the activities like land leveling, trees plantation, digging, fertilizing, spraying, irrigating, and fruit plucking and packing. They seek the help of their family members. Even sometimes, they hire the trucks and take the fruit to the markets within Pakistan. Exporters normally approach the owners themselves. The direct access of the exporters to the farms is a new phenomenon, which has become popular during two decades. Now more than 40% of the total apple production is sold to them.

Owner Non-Cultivators: This category includes big as well as small landholders who do not work in the orchards. There are 9 big landholders in the village who hire the labour and supervise them, as they can afford it. Sometimes, they themselves take the fruit to different markets in the trucks and sometimes, they sell it to the contractor. Many of the small landholders are involved in businesses or employments to earn livelihood. So they cannot give time to the orchard and have given the land to the contractors.

Non-Owners Cultivators: This category includes landless and the small landholders. They hire the orchard in the beginning under a contract, work there and in the end share half of the produce with the owner.

Thekedar (Local Contractors)

Thekedar is the person who purchases the whole lot of apples from the owner under an agreement and then sells it in the market. The agreements are made well in time before the apples ripe normally in July and August. The contractors from different areas visit the village to make deals with the owners. They go to the orchard and check the quality and quantity of the fruit before giving the offers to the owner. The quantity and quality of fruit varies from orchard to orchard, though they may be of the same size having the same number of trees. It depends upon the age of the trees. The price is determined on the basis of number of trees, their quality and expected quantity of the fruit. An average orchard of 1 acre normally has 100 apple trees. According to the local estimate, one tree yields average 15 boxes of apple per annum. One box contains 10-kg apples, so one tree produces 150 kg apples and an orchard sizing 1 acre produces 15000 kg. Average rate of 1 box of Kamari (Kala Kolu) is Rs.500 in the market. So the annual income from 1 acre orchard is Rs.750000.

Table 1: Income from the Orchards

Type of Apple Size of orchard Number of trees Quantity per tree Quantity per acre Rate Amount
Kamari 1 acre 100 15 boxes 1500 boxes 500 750000
Golden 1 acre 100 15 boxes 1500 boxes 400 600000
Rimzim 1 acre 100 15 boxes 1500 boxes 400 600000
Gaja 1 acre 100 15 boxes 1500 boxes 500 750000

The people who take their apple to the market can earn the above mentioned amounts but most of the people do not take the yield to the market. They sell the orchard to the contractors. The contractors normally offer between Rs.400000 to 500000 per acre depending upon the quality of the fruit. If the offer is acceptable to the owner, the terms and conditions are finalized and the deal is done. Right at that moment the contractor pays the first installment. After the deal is made, the contractor is responsible for plucking, packing and transporting of apples. The responsibility of irrigation stays with the owner till the apples get ready. The buyer protects and collects the fruit as early as possible because in this season the danger of hailstorm poses a serious threat as it may destroy the whole production.

Arti (Contractor in the Fruit Market)

These contractors have their offices in different fruit markets such as Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Hyderabad and Faisalabad. They make high level deals for purchasing the fruit. The local contractors work in the village normally work on their behalf. They pay them money in advance to make purchases before the start of the season. contractor gets about one million rupees in advance at the rate of Rs.50/- per box, which makes him bound to bring 20,000 boxes to him in the end of the season. The arti recovers his investment, along with 5% commission or service charges. They know each other very well and have full trust in one another.

Table 2: Rates of Different Types of Apples in 1980

Kind of Apple Rate of sale in the market
Kala Kolu Rs.350/- to 400/- per box
SabzKolu Rs.130/- to 250/- per box
Mashadi Rs.100/- to 140/- per box
Ameri Rs.100/- to 140/- per box
Kashmiri Rs.150/- to 250/- per box
Fransi Rs.80/-. to 100/- per box
American Rs.80/-. to 100/- per box

Table 3: Rates of Different Types of Apples in 2007

Kind of Apple Rate of Sale in The Market
Kala Kolu Kamari 700/- per box
Golden 500/- per box
Rimzim 550/- per box
Gaja 650/- per box

The villagers who don’t sell their fruit to the local contractors bring their fruit directly to them. They make arrangements for the auction, and sell their fruit on commission basis.

Baghwan (Orchard Watchman)

The rich orchard owners hire watchmen for protection of their orchard. They are called bazgers, and are paid Rs.3000/- to Rs.4000/- per month. They look after the orchard the whole year. Mostly, these people are outsiders, Khurasani and Afghans. They are poor people come to the village for labour and live in tents outside the village.

Thismali or Torwai (Fruit Pluckers)

When the apple gets ready in August and September, thismali or torwai (fruit pluckers) are employed either on daily wages or contract. They spread yellow dried grass called shalli in the orchard covering an area of about 20 x 4 yards. They start plucking apples and gather them in a cloth called thismal (handkerchief), which they hang around their necks. After collecting 15 to 16 kilo apples, they come down the tree and spread those apples on the grass, which has already been spread for this purpose. For plucking fruit from one acre of orchard, one to two pluckers are employed on daily wages. Some villagers do it by themselves. An amount of Rs.300/- to 350/- per day is given to the plucker. This work could also be assigned on contract basis and the amount is decided before the start of the work.

Chani (Chooser or Separator)

Chani is a person who categorizes the plucked apple according to their quality. He is a labourer and charges almost the same amount as the plucker. Apples which remain small in size because of less water or for some other reason are packed separately and considered of inferior quality. The defective apples having different types of marks on them are also packed in separate boxes which include pata-dagh (leaf mark) Sukha-dagh (dry mark). Last category of defect is gheela-dagh (wet mark) of light brown colour, caused when an apple falls from the branch and hits the ground hard. Such apples are collected from the ground and are packed in sacks. Out of these defective apples, sukha-dagh (dry mark) apples can survive for 3 to 4 months.

Crate Walla (Box Maker)

Crate-walla makes boxes (wooden box) for the fruit to be packed in and sent to the market. There is only one box maker in the village. Every year, he makes about one hundred and fifty thousand boxes, for which he brings wood from Multan or Faisalabad. The total expenses of wood are about six to seven hundred thousand rupees. He has employed a carpenter who makes boxes and charges Rs.2.00 per box. The nails used for making boxes are brought from Quetta. One bag full of one-inch length nails costs about Rs.800/-. The box maker sells one box for Rs.15/- to the villagers. In Quetta markets, one box also costs the same, so people of Zandra village prefer buying boxes from him. The cost breakup for making one box is given in the following table.

Table 4: Cost on One Empty Box

ITEMS AMOUNT
Wood and labour Rs.8.00 per box
Transportation of material Rs.2.00 per box
Carpenter Rs.2.00 per box
Nail Rs.1.00 per box
Total Rs.13.00

Annually, he saves about 60,000 to 70,000 rupees. Sacks for packing defective apple are brought from Quetta as they are not available in the village.

Cratee or Maikhi (Packer)

Cratee or maikhi (packer) are the people who are skilled in apple packing. They orderly arrange apples in the boxes. Packers and all other labourers work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During this time, a packer packs about seventy to eighty boxes. He uses nails to close the boxes. That’s why he is also called maikhi (person who fix the nails).He normally works on contract bases. For an orchard of one acre with about hundred trees, he charge Rs.7000 to Rs.8000. Loading of the fruit in trucks is also included in this contract.

Markay-Walla (Marker)

Markay-walla (person who labels the apple boxes) marks all the boxes according to the quality and names of the owners or contractors. For instant if there are 20 boxes of No.1 quality apples, the marker will mark 20/1 on all of them, with the initial letter of the name of owner or the contractor; for example N.K. for Nasir Khan. After marking, list/chalan (payment voucher) is made in the office of koti (person who makes voucher) in the village before the fruit is loaded onto the trucks. Marker is paid Rs.300/- per day for marking the boxes.

Transporter

The transporters do not belong to the village. In the apple production season i.e. in August to September there are numberless trucks available here. After selling the export quality to the exporter they take rest of the fruit to different fruit markets in Faisalabad, Lahore, Multan, Karachi and other cities where it is sold to the artis (contractors in fruit market). There is no cold storage in the village and thus they are forced to sell their fruit to artis. One truck normally carries 410 boxes. The freight charges vary from market to market, which are paid by the owner of the fruit or the contractor.

Table 5: Truck Charges for Different Fruit Markets

Market Station Charges for Truck Trip
Lahore RS.6000/-
Faisalabad RS.4500/-
Karachi RS.3500/-
Multan RS.3500/-
Hyderabad RS.3500/-
Quetta RS.1000/-

Table shows that the transportation rate for Lahore fruit market is the highest, Rs.6000/- followed by Faisalabad, Rs.4500/- and then Karachi, Multan and Hyderabad for Rs.3500/-. In Quetta, it is only Rs.1000/-. On the way to the market, the owner/contractor has to pay octroi (tax) also at Rs.300 to 500 per truck.

For Kala Kolu, Faisalabad’s fruit market is considered as the best one. For Ameri apple, Multan’s and Lahore’s fruit markets are considered to be the best ones because with Amari apple, jams and marmalade are made and both of the cities have such factories. For contractors, markets in Lahore and Karachi are the most suitable because they can earn more profit from there. However for owner horticulturalist, Faisalabad’s fruit market is considered as ideal as they face less problems in selling and taking money from the arti.

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