Agriculture in the Hushe Valley - 2015

An Appreciation to the Volunteers of Baltistan Foundation

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Written by:Kamal ud Din (Program Manager, FFB)
Date:9th September 2015


  1. History of Felix Foundation in Terse
  2. Agriculture-overview of Hushe Valley
  3. FFB & BF role
    1. Awareness Sessions
    2. Area of Apricot
    3. Area of Food Preservation
    4. Area of Green Housing
    5. Trainings
    6. Plantation SAMPLE
  4. Resource Support from FFB
  5. Issues
  6. Conclusion

History of Felix Foundation in Terse

Hushe valley is situated in Ghanche district of Gilgit-Baltistan Pakistan surrounded by many internationally famous peaks like Masherbrum, K.2., Broad Peak, G-1, and G-2. It is placed 100 km east from Skardu, the divisional center of Baltistan region. Hushe valley as an ancient human settlement of Baltistan is situated in the laps of the world’s famous Gundgrola and Siachin glaciers with historical evidences of having it chronological links with Tibet of China via Ladakh region. The population of this valley comprises of approximately 12000 individuals residing in 1000 households. The population is dependent on subsistent farming and tourism for its livelihood earnings.

The strong weather conditions remoteness of the region and the shrinking of tourism due to prevailing international scenario are forcing the local people to remain backward and poor as compared to other parts of Pakistan. This valley is scattered in Eight (08) small localities and altogether they form Hushe valley in the midst of the mighty Karakorum. The inhabitants of the Hushe valley are primarily dependent on subsistent farming and tourism for their livelihood. Dwelling in the lapse of many famous peaks & glaciers, the local youth having an eternal love for the nature and natural beauties are very much engaged with tourism for their life earnings.

In the pursuance of this trend a local youth got hold of an opportunity to visit a neighboring country Nepal where he come across some climbing schools and highly inspired by the initiatives. Due largely to the influence of his experiences in Nepal, on return to his homeland this man decided to take the initiative of opening such a school in his own village Machulo of the Hushe valley. His friends welcomed him and they opened two schools, one climbing school for tourists and another “Munawar Public School” aimed at providing education to the local youth. Many foreigner friends from Basque appreciated their idea and started helping these local youth in their social work. Felix, his brother Alberto and Jon Lazkano were the prominent personalities in this act of philanthropy. Unfortunately Felix died in an accident on G-2 peak while doing a summit. Due to his deep attachment with the local community, the climbing school was named in his memory by the villagers of Machulo.

Furthermore the local inhabitants and Alberto & John the brother and friend of Felix decided to open a foundation naming after Felix aimed at the socio economic development of the people of Machulo and Hushe valley. Now it is working in Agriculture education, women development, health hygiene improvement and infrastructure development for the Hushe valley based in the village Machulo. This foundation registered as Felix Ińurrategi Foundation Baltistan Machulo is registered in Pakistan and later on its name changed as Felix Foundation Baltistan and in Spain with the name of “Baltistan Fundazioa”.

FFB and BF’s continuous and sincere efforts come true for the Hushe Valley habitants. This valley is growing rapidly in Education, Agriculture and Vocational areas. Here we would like to pay our sincere tributes to the highly professionals of SPAIN who frequently visited to the remotest valley without caring coldness and long journeys only to help the valley habitants and share their skills, experiences and enhanced an atmosphere of friendship. The unforgettable contribution is in process from BF team members especially the volunteers in each and every project. In this list we can’t forget John Lazkano, Alberto Inurategi, John Mancisdor, Jose Manuel, Carlos Cantero, Iker Karera, Argine, Ainoha, Arrate, Sarai Martinez and other volunteers in different fields and projects of BF and FFB. Hushe valley can’t forget the volunteer services and supports of Shamshair Ali, Akhond Ibrahim, Rustam Ali and Ibrahim Rustam from the community representatives who served their level best by giving first priority to the community development. This short report is only about Agriculture expansions in the valley by extreme bold role of FFB and BF.

Agriculture-overview of Hushe Valley

Agriculturally, Hushe Valley was almost one of the undiscovered valleys of the world. The techniques of modern agriculture were not familiar. The soil is not much bad to cultivate and experiment different crops, vegetables and fruits but the people don’t know about the different kinds of technical and practical procedures. This valley has the best quality of soil to produce Apricot trees but they were wasting it by using to feed animals and were selling on very low price. The people do grafting but they weren’t familiar with other techniques. They do use vegetables like, potato, tomato, pees, mutter, cabbage, carrot, garlic and many more but only in summer for only three to four months. They have other fruitful plants like peach, apple, pear, grapes and many more but the traditional techniques were not capable them to market it or to use it in home. The quality and feeding techniques were not familiar to them. In short, the value able fruits, vegetables and crops were neither expanding their economy nor producing quality of production.

FFB & BF role

Felix Foundation and Baltistan Foundation (Spain) took initiatives to promote socio-economic development of Hushe valley. In-purpose both counter parts starts to earn the aim “Socio-Economic Development of Hushe Valley” by opting fields to focus for development such as Agriculture, Education, Health, Infrastructure, Tourism and Gender/Vocational. They set an impressive slogan “Skillful and Educated Hushe Valley” in purpose to renovate their aim “Socio-Economic Development of Hushe Valley”.

The agriculture field was a tough and tricky field to make changes in its trends as Balti people follow their way of agriculture as a belief and culture. The majority of the habitants depend on agriculture. Though the modernize techniques going to give them maximum production but their belief, unaware and congested minds doesn’t allow changes easily. It means they need to see the differences with their own eyes practically. So both organization decided to show and trained someone in modern techniques by practically. So the install two green House and two fruit nursery for pilot testing.

The starting was quiet difficult for BF and FFB to initiate agricultural activities through modernization in the valley. But, Hushe Valley was lucky that they found some unexpected services from international professionals all along from Spain and serenity of BF & FFB agriculture team. The team’s coordination was awesome and straight to act upon all the activities of this project. The contribution of Carlos Cantero , Iker karrera , Ainhoa , Argene , Arrate iturrbe are unforgettable to the community of Hushe Valley. The team members from the community volunteers were also compel to script down their names in appreciation paragraph. In this list Hushe valley can’t forget the volunteer services and supports of Shamshair Ali, Akhond Iberahim, Rustam Ali and Ibrahim Rustam. The both teams breakdown the project activities into following steps and areas in this areas.

Awareness Sessions

The awareness was so important to familiarize the farmers about the basic and modern concepts about farming. Both organizations grip up hands together and conducted awareness sessions. The first and most important was to familiarize the team of FFB with international agriculture techniques. FFB team visited to Spain and observed in details the techniques and process of agriculture. This awareness tour was so precious and useful concerning north trends of agriculture. Gradually, this team becomes change agent in Hushe Valley by creating awareness and mouth marketing about importance of modern and technical agriculture. The team members were Mr. Ibrahim, Mr. Rustam Ali, Mr. Shamshair Ali and Mr. Ibrahim Rustam who visited to different cities of Spain.

The community farmers visited to different areas of Gilgit Baltistan (Skardu, Gilgit and Hunza) where similar weather conditions and cultivate same crops as Hushe valley. The farmers team was consist of male and females from entire community of Hushe Valley. They visited to different community centers and meet women entrepreneurs where they negotiated about the doe’s and don’ts in detail. Their local organizations welcomed them and briefed about the developmental history especially agriculture and women empowerment. They observed green houses, potato production statistics, and apricot drying process & shared marketing strategies.

The international professionals of agriculture have been visited time to time in Hushe Valley and shared their fruitful experiences. They even care this valley agricultural activities personally and voluntarily traveled to Pakistan, North from far away Spain. They shared precious ideas, experiences and practical activities to the community on their visit to the valley. The international agriculturists were, Mr. Iker, Mr. Carlos, Mrs. Arginie and Mrs. Arrate.

The local members marketed the trends and techniques into the community by mouth marketing and practically their selves. Those members are Mr. Shamshair Ali, Mr. Rustam Ali, Mr. Ibrahim, Mr. Ibrahim Rustam, Fida Muhammad, Muhammad Iqbal, Muhammad Zarif and Musa.

The foundation prepared the conceptual practices of people in agriculture through various sessions. The awareness sessions have been organizing in the community for the community with professional agriculturists of government and private consultants.

Area of Apricot

  1. Trainings of Drying Apricot After the visits to different places and awareness sessions FFB gave trainings to the community women for drying apricot. The foundation hired a professional women team from Hunza to trained community women in drying apricots. This team visited to hamlet to hamlet in the community and trained many women about Quality techniques of drying apricots.

  2. FFB and BF Role

    The both teams mutually worked out for the better future of agriculture especially apricot. FFB and BF provided the community farmers plastics, preservatives and wooden frame to dry apricot. This was to familiarize the new technique of dry apricot neat and clean.

  3. Plantation Techniques of Apricot Trees

    The old tactic was to put apricot plants everywhere and roughly. They even don’t care about the quality and kind of trees for fruit. They weren’t aware about the basic plantation concepts. The international professionals briefly lectured to the farmers and gave idea of modern techniques. The farmers are opting new techniques while planting a new apricot tree. They think many times before plant a single apricot tree for its feasibility, kind of fruit, demographic and other aspects. People are more protecting their trees rather than earlier.

    Farmers are buying new quality apricot trees and caring about its growth. FFB introduced a quality Apricot tree from Hunza by experimenting of some individuals in their Orchard. The experiment was quiet satisfied and now that tree grafts are dividing to the community of Hushe Valley. People are accepting this tree’s grafting massively and at the moment approximately 200 trees has been grafted with this quality tree.

  4. Grafting of Apricot

    The quality of apricot trees were necessary to ensure for drying apricot. We arranged several sessions for the community farmers to train about grafting at their door step. First, we trained Musa in grafting from professionals and he is giving training to the community farmers frequently. We are especially arranging these types of sessions for community farmers. Musa approximately trained 200 community farmers till now and it is conducting on need base and seasonally. The different kinds of grafting are experimenting by Musa and Iqbal.

  5. Trainings of Jam making of Apricot

    The professionals from Skardu had hired to give training to community women. This professional gave training in jam making by using apricot to the women of the community. This was practiced several times in the community and many women now making apricot jams for their home use.

  6. Built Market for Drying Apricot

    Before the initiative of FFB and BF the farmers used to sell out their apricots 10 PKR/kg but after the technical changes and trainings now the farmers are satisfied with the dried apricot market. They are now earning 120 PKR/kg for “normal” quality. Now, the buyers are in competition to buy dried apricot from the Valley and paying 100 PKR plus /kg.

  7. Outcomes

    The apricot outcomes are observing now unpredictably. In the past the farmers use dried apricots for their animals’ feed. Later on FFB introduced many techniques to dry apricot to sell out with a good price in the market. At the moment we can count the statistics about it that 80% of the farmers’ per capita income with the average of 60,000/PKR annually. The farmers were not familiar with the grafting techniques but now after several trainings, sessions and experiments on grafting, farmers are taking lot of interest in this activity. At the moment approximately 200 farmers got grafting trainings from the master trainer Musa and Tariq Umer. Approximately 2000 trees grafted with good quality apricot trees from Hunza and Baltistan. The result of this production is predicting more impressive in near future.

Area of Food Preservation

The quality fruits and vegetables were wasting or not using effectively by the community farmers. We arranged several opportunities to the women of the community to produce diffident sort of products from their quality fruits and vegetables at their door step.

  1. Pickle Making Training

    The community was not familiar about the making of pickle with the locally produced vegetables. We hire a professional from Skardu and he visited in the community several times to give training to the farmers. Today, many women and men know how to prepare pickle and they are preparing for their home usages. It s need little more concentration and investment to produce on a large scale.

  2. Jam Making of Sea-buckthorn

    The community wasn’t familiar about the sea-buckthorn importance. This is found in the mountain and desert type lands surrounding in the community. Our hired professional from Skardu gave training to the farmers. Though they are not making it on a large scale but they are selling its fruit with a good price in the market. There are lots of competitors in the market to buy sea-buckthorn. Today, approximately 60% of the community farmers are earning 65,000/PKR annually from sea-buckthorn market.

  3. Jam Making of Mulberry

    Mulberry is commonly found in Hushe Valley with three different quality trees. People were not using this tree’s fruit except eating in summer and feed for animals when it dried. We arranged trainings and awareness sessions through qualified and professionals from all over Baltistan. The people got trainings and now they are preparing Mulberry jams in their homes.

Area of Green Housing

The community of Hushe Valley was totally unaware about green house production and its benefits. Later on, we introduced the modern techniques and process practically to the community farmers. We constructed two sample green houses in the community to show its process and benefits to the residence. The both agriculturists are now in a competition in production of vegetables. Felix Foundation Baltistan, Government of Pakistan agriculture department of District Ghanche and two farmers (Iqbal and Fida) signed and MOU to experiment a new initiative in agriculture. The outcomes of this MOU and previous effort’s result as following and the agreement was distributed the roles of parties as;

  1. Partnership

    (a) Felix Foundation Baltistan
    Felix Foundation Baltistan accepted the responsibility to provide resource to the both farmers.

    (b) Govt Agriculture Department Ghanche
    Govt has provided seeds (plant) and technical assistance to the farmers and a tool box including agricultural items.

    (c) Farmers
    Both farmers agreed to produce a new sort of tomato in their green houses and 2dnly they are responsible to elaborate this sample experiment to the community farmers.

  2. Saling Green House

    We found an enthusiastic person whom has keen interest in farming. He is professionally a government employee but during leisure time, he does farming with high interest.BF Volunteers gave trainings to him about basic steps of green housing. We both mutually constructed a sample green house after laboratory test of soil from Spain by the professionals in Saling village. Iqbal look after it and our professionals voluntarily gave feed backs, suggestions and time to time evaluate the process, seeds and productions.

    After few years we become able to script about this green house as valuable example for the community. At the moment Saling farmers are opting green house techniques after observation of Iqbal’s green house. There are almost 50 to 60 green houses which made by local sticks and small pipe in Saling village that produce vegetables in winter as well from those green houses. Iqbal experimented this year the grafting of Tomatoes. This year till now he sold out 140kg only tomato into the market with the price of 80 PKR/kg. This price is 20PKR less than market and quality is comparatively good than market.

  3. Machulo Green House

    We found another passionate personality whom has keen curiosity in agricultural. He is professionally a government employee but during leisure time, he does farming with high concentration.BF gave trainings to him about basic steps of green housing. We both mutually constructed another sample green house in Machulo village. Fida Muhammad look after it and our professionals voluntarily gave feed backs, suggestions and time to time evaluate the process, seeds and productions. He has been selling out vegetables in the local market and earning approximately 30000/PKR annually.

    He has been producing Tomatoes, Carrots, Chilies, Cabbages, Mutters, Salads and onions. He has been selling seeds and grafts of tomatoes and onions etc to the local farmers. Fida usually goes to different farmer’s garden and giving feed backs to them about green house tips. The international professionals of BF, Local enthusiastic volunteers of FFB and the master Trainer Fida Muhammad continuously supported to the community concerning green housing tactics. This effort is giving a huge outcome to the community. There are almost 80 to 90 green houses in different hamlet of Machulo Seems in winter time in small scale. The both sample green houses putting impact into the entire community. There are making green houses in Talis, Balaygone and Marzigone as well as in Khaney villages in small scale.


We provide trainings to the community in the following areas where the local farmers are making stable their economy.

1.Drying Apricot2.Jam Making of Apricot3.Jam Making of Apple4.Jam Making of Mulberry
5.Jam Making of Sea-bucktharn 6.Grafting of Apple7.Grafting of Tomato8.Grafting of Apricot
9.Grafting of Peach10.Grafting of Peer11.Cutting of Plants (apple plants etc)12.Marketing
13.Seed banking14.Green housing15.Food Preservation16.Field visits to Hunza-Skardu-Gilgit

Plantation SAMPLE

The local community farmers were unaware to produce quality fruits from their trees. The apple trees were either weak or detected diseases and the fruits were in bad quality. They were not selling the apple production. Later, we step in and introduce new and modern techniques to the local farmers. For this purpose same as green houses we planted two sample plantations into the two vast community villages of Hushe Valley. Saling plantation though can’t produce well result but it is enough to sample to the rest of the community farmers. But the Machulo Plantation of apples is quiet outstanding. This plantation got succeed to produce quality apples and creating good market.

The owner of the farm was not expecting such results but that was continuous effort from international professional’s experiences of BF volunteers, local passionate volunteers and grafting/cutting master Mr. Iqbal that today the owner of this farm is earning 90 thousand PKR annually. The local community farmers are getting its impact into their practices. Gradually they are practicing such sort of technical plantation. Thus today the apple plantation has a good market and having faith in farmer’s concentration that apple production and modern plantation will get high market in future.

Resource Support from FFB

We provide the following Resources to the community farmers.

Material Resources

S.No Particular Name Qty Area of Focus Worth
1 Wooden Frame
for Dry Apricot
Drying Apricot One time
2 Wooden Tray
for Dry Apricot
Drying ApricotOne time
3 Plastic Cover for
Wooden Tray of
Drying Apricot
Drying Apricot One time
4 Chemicals (to enhance
the quality of dry
apricot process)
250 kg
Drying ApricotOne time
5 Plastics for two
Sample Green Houses
For 60’x40’ area
of Land
Green Houses
Three Times
6 Plastics for
individual green
For 14’x10’
area of land
Green houses
One time
7 Plants of quality Apple 60 Apple Trees For Saling and
Machulo Sample
One Time
8 Protection of both Plantations Protection nets
installments in
Saling and Machulo
PlantationOne Time

HR Resources

S.No Particular Name QtyArea of Focus Worth
1 Training of
70 Farmers got
trained for grafting
Grafting of Trees One Time
2 Grafted Trees 5000 Trees
Approximately Grafted
Grafting of Trees Till now
3 Sea-buckthorn
Jams Making
40 Farmers got
Trained for Jams making
Food Preservation Four Times
4 Mulberry Jams
Making Training
40 Farmers got
Trained for Jams making
Food Preservation Four Times
5 Apricot Jam
Making Training
40 Farmers got
Trained for Jams making
Food Preservation Four Times
6 Volunteer's
10 National and
Agricultural activities
(plantation, green housing,
grafting, drying
apricot etc)
Several times


The agricultural activities have been practicing into the community since many years. We have to enhance the agricultural activities on a large scale throughout in the community of Hushe Valley. But concerning the past experiences we are facing the following major issues.

  • Modern Technology is not available to the farmers where they couldn’t able to produce or practice agricultural activities efficiently.
  • Regular look after is essential for the production of plants, fruits, vegetables, grafting and food preservations etc.
  • The lack of quality equipments and accessories to the farmers is facing hurdles during the practices of farming. Because the majority of the farmers are not economically stable in the community.


Felix Foundation Baltistan and Baltistan Fundazioa Spain established for socio-economic development of Hushe Valley. The both organizations decentralized the developmental aspects into various fields as Education, Health, Agriculture, Gender, Vocational and Tourism areas. The agricultural outcomes were much satisfied through scripted facts and figures. The entire community of Hushe Valley will never forget the services from volunteers of Spanish professionals in different fields of socio-economic development. The Felix Foundation Baltistan volunteers between the mountains set a great example as change agent in the history of Hushe Valley and Felix Foundation Baltistan. The entire developmental scores became possible by the international donors, their unforgettable sincerity towards the Balti community.