Pakistani Fair Trade company Mountain Fruits has been active since 2000. The company evolved from a rural development programme of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme and retains its founding mission to improve the incomes and opportunities for isolated farming communities in the area.
Mountain Fruits buys fruits and nuts from the Mountain Fruits Farmers Association whose membership involves more than 6000 farmers organised into more than 110 farming groups. The farmers sell apricots, apples, cherries, almonds and walnuts. The fruit and nut trees are irrigated by glacial meltwater from the Karakorum and Himalayan Mountains, creating wonderful flavoursome produce.
As well as pre-financing and making Fairtrade purchases from farmers, Mountain Fruits (MF) also train farmers in best farming and post harvest practice. MF also run 2 factories where they grade and further process the dried fruits and nuts.
Over the years, Fairtrade premiums have been spent by the Farmers Association on books for community schools, a new playground, water tanks, a generator, sewing machines, school fees for the poorest students and irrigation upgrades.
Since 2010, the Sainsburys Fair Development Fund administered by Comic Relief has helped Mountain Fruits construct a new nut processing factory, to distribute improved almond seedlings to farmer members, and to conduct farmer training workshops to improve harvest yields.