The Gilgit Baltistan (GB) region of northern Pakistan provides the ideal conditions for the growth of various fruits such as apricots, cherries and apples. However, the conducive growing conditions are not capitalised on due to the difficult terrain of the region and the remote location of such fruit belts. These issues limit investments in storage and processing facilities in the region. Hashwan Dry Fruit Traders (HDFT) is a dry fruit processing company, established in 1997 and based in GB. Since 2001, HDFT has been purchasing fresh and dried fruit directly from farmers and through middlemen, to package and sell to the local and international markets. Currently, HDFT is interested in expanding to more markets building on their export experience.
HDFT has had a focus on trading which has provided them with significant market information but the lack of fruit processing knowledge is hindering its growth. MDF is assisting HDFT in setting up a dry fruit processing unit in Rahim Abad, GB that will allow them to process and package dried apricots enabling them to cater to larger international markets. Through this partnership, farmers in GB can sell larger volumes of apricots at premium prices and benefit from an increase in their incomes.