Fruit crops suitable for various districts of Pakistan
M. H. PANHWAR
Cherry, apple, apricot, peach, plums pears, almond and walnut.
Lychee, guava, citrus, mango, citrus, (except lemon, lime and grapefruit) .
Mango: Ghotki, Nausharo, Nawabshah, Hyderabad, Tando Allah Yar.
Lychee: Hyderabad, Matiari, Mirpurkhas, Tando Allah Yar, Nawabshah, Nausharo and Ghotki.
Date palm: Khairpur and Sukkur.
Guava: Larkana and Karachi.
Chiku: Karachi, Thatta and Badin.
Cherimoya and other Annonas: Karachi, Thatta and Badin.
Citrus: Grapefruit, lemon, lime: Whole Sindh.
Citrus (Pummelo): Karachi, Thatta, Badin and Hyderabad.
Longan: Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad, Matiari, Tando Allah Yar and Mirpurkhas.
Jammon: Whole Sindh.
Papaya: Karachi, Thatta and Badin.
Pomegranate: Barkhan, Duki districts.
Dates: Turbat and Gawadar.
Grapes: Quetta and Pishin.
Apples: Quetta, Pishin, Mastung, Kalat and Khuzdar.
Almond: Quetta and Pishin.
General situation of the fruit export is not very satisfactory as for every fruit there is glut season, when it is sold cheap, rejected without processing and during the glut on the average 40% fruit is wasted from harvesting to final consumption. Export is not taking place nor are there processors to make use of excess or un-marketable but other wise good processing quality.
Fruit export is not developed at all. For example European countries namely Holland, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, and Germany which import fresh dates from Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunis and Morocco, process this, further properly packed and store it, market it in Europe at about US$4.0 per kg where as the very producing countries market it at 25-50% of above price. Pakistan export dates at about US40 cents which is just 10% of European processed dates. Mango is not processed and packed properly and therefore can not be exported in large quantities to Europe. More than 90% of mango is dumped in Dubai market at half of the export price than Indian mango, which is processed. A large number of other fruits like lychee, guava many varieties of citrus, chicku, cherrymoya, jammon, papaya, grapes, apple, cherry apricot, peach, plum and pears are either not exported or export is limited, because of poor quality of the fruit, small size, lack of colour or cosmetic appeal and un-developed packing and processing industry.
I could give you export figures from government statistics, but they are defective as exporters keep money abroad and disclose lower figures.
Our climate is similar to California which is the leading state in USA in supplying fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs and some industrial crops to whole USA and also abroad.
There is policy drawback that since mid 50ís under wrong advise we concentrated on wheat, rice and cotton and after 1970 on sugarcane neglecting horticulture crops above mentioned.
In general horticulture corps fetch 10 times the gross income as compared to other crops. Our study of various fruit crops shows that with proper planning and introducing latest varieties of fruits, income per acre can easily hit US$2000. What is lacking in Pakistan is trained horticulturists. We visited Australia in 1989 and found 2400 horticulturist at work throughout the country. Would you believe that between then and now Australia is now mango exporter and can over take Pakistan by about 2010. The miracle is performed by the government policy as well as education research and extension in horticulture. I have in my library more than 14,000 books and bulletins on horticulture crops and I had started importing these from Australia in the first instance followed by USA, Canada, South Africa and England.
California has same climate as Pakistan and climate of Australia is similar to subtropics of Pakistan and also tropics of India and South-East-Asia. They have taken the advantage of the climate and we have not understood it. Horticulture is more rewarding.
The bottlenecks are many and can be enumerate as following:
a) Low standards of education.
b) Inadequate number of horticulturists.
c) Lack of awareness among the farmers about horticulture crops.
d) Lack of availability of published material in English and other languages in Pakistan.
e) Lack of in-depth knowledge of suitable varieties, cultural practices, harvesting and packaging techniques among the farmers.
f) In general this is a black hole in agriculture industry in Pakistan.
Mechanisation of crop requires special row crop tractors, which are not manufactured in Pakistan and therefore there is no progress in producing crops economically or intensively or increasing the yield by mechanised methods. Imagine that cotton could be grown by using 7.5 tractor hours per acre except harvesting it would be inter-cultivation and save cost of herbicides. This was my training in USA and also M.Sc. thesis. I had mechanised cotton crop on my farm for some years, when mango trees were very small. The same equipment could be used for vegetables, castor, groundnut and etc.
Land degradation is continuing throughout Pakistan due to lack of proper drainage, wrong out falls, inadequate plans to incorporate reclamation of land as part of drainage. Excessive use of pesticides has produced more posts and more use of pesticides, some of which are still will use in Pakistan although they are harmful to workers healthy, including occurrence of cancer. Fertilisers have polluted surface water and ground water has NO2 in excess of permissible limits.
Irrigation had played havoc. In Guddu Barrage intensity of cultivation is only 35% against 65% as suitable land to grow water is not available and is already highly saline. In Kotri Barrage in area too only 35% land is cultivated. Water shortage is being projected as main cause which definitely is there, but in addition non-saline land is reducing year after year, due to irrigation and lack of drainage
Surface drainage is all right for reclamation of saline land but it does not lower water table, which is the cause of it and there is no plan to do it.
There is no shortage of grain in the World. It is not only in excess but surplus enough to create competition between USA, Canada and Australia for export of wheat and the multinationals trying to oust-out each other from the established market. With the orchards our income can be at least 5 times the present, employment also 5 times along with 5 times export and we will have enough money to buy our food. When orchards increase the farmers earn more and better earning by itself will bring a revolution in acquiring the better knowledge which will apply not only to horticulture crops but also better knowledge to produce grains on marginal lands. the grain yield in the developing countries are 2.5-3.0 times ours. With better income and knowledge, we can increase yields of grains on marginal lands and country will not suffer.
Farmers especially horticulture crop growers do not make money, not due to middle men exploiting him, but he allows himself to be exploited as he simply does not know the proper technologies involved in raising fruit corps, proper harvesting and packaging in the field, transport requirements, marketing and exporting. The middle man is better informed than him and gets the orchard for harvest at a cheap rate, engages some uneducated rural, rustic labour which is available very cheap, harvest, pack and market it. He is also exporter. He is own knowledge is limited and the responsibility of 40% loss of fresh fruits or vegetable lies upon him. For his ignorance responsibility lies on the government which had failed to produce well trained horticulturists and extension workers to help grower in poorer harvesting, packaging, transporting and marketing.
I have quickly produced this concept note for you. Under the present circumstances to increase fruits and horticulture Corp, training has to be provided to the growers. We have ourselves made limited attempts and produce educational material for corps like, mangoes, guava, dates, post-harvest treatments of fruits and vegetable for export, but our presentations in government seminars and conferences did not bring serious farmers and instead politician, farmers, who lacked interest.