Urban Farming in Karachi
Karachiites and visitors to it are well aware that green spaces / vegetation cover in Karachi is very limited. Total vegetation cover in Karachi as of 2008 is estimated to at 62,643 acres, at 7% of the total land area of 907,001 acres... it is appalling! and whatever little green spaces are around are disappearing fast, if its not the land mafia its successive bureaucrats who leave their mark by undoing whatever little good their predecessors managed to do.
So with this backdrop there is much song and dance when yuppies of Karachi plant tomatoes in a pot! but there is little celebration of the rural workers who are putting their farming skills to good use in the city having moved to urban centres in search of a better life.
Zulfiqar is one such urban farmer, having moved from Baltistan in the north some 11 years ago. On arrival the shy introverted 16 year old went about making use of the bedding and whatever spare space he could find in the garden at mum's house in Karachi.
It was only recently that a confident young man who now speaks English has an email address and sends me pictures of his green exploits on his Chinese manufactured Android phone brought his urban farm to my attention.. that too having overheard the praised bestowed on a friend for being a recent convert to urban farming Zulfiqar commented 'no big deal sir, we grow our own tomatoes, lettuce, peas, radishes, potatoes and rocket, we have for many years'.
This post is to celebrate Zulfiqar the urban farmer, who religiously prepares the beddings for each season, utilises every possible space he can without getting into trouble with the gardner (who seems redundant with Zulfiqar around!) As for Zulfiqar's answer to the silly question of why...'it keeps me close to home...' he says. Once a farmer I guess always a farmer.
AWESOME work Zulfiqar and keep your pics coming and I shall keep you folks updated on his green exploits in the concrete jungle of Karachi.