Indigo plantation may resume in Pakistan after a century


Islamabad : A project has been initiated by a local organisation in Pakistan’s Sindh province for the revival of indigo cultivation that was abandoned in the region almost 100 years back, a media report said.

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A seminar was held in this regard by Goth Sudhar Sangat, a community-based organisation of Haji Khan Keerio village, in collaboration with WWF Indus for All Programme last week near Pai Forest, Sakrand of Shaheed Benzirabad (Nawabshah) district.

During the seminar, growers and artisan community representatives expressed a desire to promote the indigenous art in the province of Sindh, The News International reported Monday.

Considered one of the oldest and most durable in producing dyes the use of indigo dates back to ancient times in the region. Indigo was used primarily for dyeing textiles, but was also useful for cleaning wounds.

Processing of the indigo was a noxious procedure which many now believe was toxic to the workers. Long ago, Sindh was an attractive place to produce dyes which were used in manufacturing traditional items.

Lands close to river Indus and fertile lands of forests are productive for this crop. In the past, mostly artisan communities would take it for blue dye. However, gone are the days when export of indigo product was a profitable business, the report said.

Nasir Panhwar, coordinator of Indus for All Programm, WWF Pakistan, Sindh, said that cultivating indigo is the most innovative project among all the initiatives they have taken in the region.

Shakeel Abro, director of the Aek Hunar Aik Nagar (AHAN), the government institution to promote traditional art, said that the growers should take risk to cultivate this crop.

“We can take the issue with Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) for its (indigo) export. Apart from this, presently, we offer growers to supply the product to AHAN and Sindh Culture Department, which are working to promote indigenous art and mobilising artisan communities in the province.