Zia Garden (ZG) is owned by Haji Akhtar Muhammad who is a progressive farmer and an entrepreneur. Haji Akhtar has extensive experience in raising fruit orchards (especially apple and grape) and floriculture nurseries near Quetta city. He started fruits and flowers nursery business 40 years ago and developed a sound understanding of agriculture sector. His current production of fruit saplings are 100,000 plants, targeting more than 500 farmers in the province. Fruits and flower growers in Baluchistan increasingly recognize Mr. Akhtar’s sapling production and nursery management skills. The owner of ZG owns land in Quetta and Mastung and wanted to expand and diversify his nursery business into producing high quality vegetable seedlings (tomato and eggplant seedlings) produced in controlled environment in walk-in tunnels.
MDF is supported ZG to set up walk-in-tunnels for producing off-season vegetable seedlings under controlled environment, hire technical expert for establishing tunnels and training of labour, conduct marketing and awareness campaign through brochures and acquire certification for the vegetable seedling business. Through this partnership, ZG intends to demonstrate a successful vegetable seedling nursery business model that provides access of good quality vegetable seedlings to farmers. Seedlings produced in tunnels or covered nursery results in a much healthier crop that can tolerate severe weather conditions once transplanted into the field. Use of vegetable seedlings also has the potential to allow farmers to take advantage of early season vegetable prices.