The Hushe Valley residents live principally on subsistence agriculture. Almost all families own land and work it to obtain their livelihood, chiefly producing cereals, mainly wheat, buckwheat, some forage such as alfalfa, and growing some vegetables during the summer. They also have fruit trees, especially apricots and apple trees. Some families have small quantities of livestock and poultry, but these are not enough to ensure their nutritional needs. Thus, in the summer season, some men find sporadic jobs, for example as mountain porters or in construction and services, to provide some extra source of income.
The problems seen in traditional agricultural production are the low productivity of the land, the amount and fragmentation of land ownership and access to irrigation. Women are the primary workers in the field where virtually all the work is manual. At the same time they also have responsibility for the housework and childcare.
The Felix Baltistan Foundation Agricultural Project, operating in the area since 2004, is oriented towards improving the living conditions in the villages of the Hushe Valley by developing sustainable agricultural production, providing training in new agricultural techniques and technical assistance. Notably, the project aims to maintain the food supply and economy of each household and is based on encouraging community work and personal initiative, through improved technical, educational and cultural factors. These are seen as vital to the development and improvement in the quality of life of the population.
Agriculture projects being carried out includes the following:
- Mechanisation: Introduction of light machinery for field work, small harvesters for grain and forage, cultivators (with different applications) and grain cleaners.
- Horticultural Production: Introduction of farming systems for the improvement of horticulture: Experimentation and development of crops in greenhouses and outdoor rotations, through a variety of horticultural crops.
- Fruit production: systems to improve fruit crop production through experimental planting of several species of fruit trees, to pruning and training systems to enhance effective performance.
- Marketing horticulture/fruit production: facilities to clean and dry the apricots and a pressing machine for the production of oil.