Pakistan consists of different varieties of soil, highly fertile land and better climatic conditions which make it propitious for vegetables,Rocketed should be the production of minor fruits and other different crops production. Mostly, our country is rich in production of high valued fruits and vegetables. The climatic conditions ranges within Pakistan generally are tropical to temperate which allow growing of 21 kinds of fruits and 40 types of vegetables.
Area under fruits and vegetable cultivation is 0.995 million ha (total cropped area 4.3%) along with 10.992 million tons total production. In the past both production and area have increased with slow pace. Pakistan stands in the rank of fascinating countries due to varieties of fruits where nearly all kinds of fruits are grown for human consumption. Fruits are rich source of simple sugars, fibers, vitamins and also these are low in calories and fats which optimize human health. Minor fruits are rich source of soluble dietary fiber, which assists to ward off fats and cholesterol from body and also provide relief from the ailments of constipation.
Many anti-oxidants for example anthocyanins, vitamin-C, flavonoids and poly-phenolic are present in minor fruits. Human body can be shielded from cancers, oxidant stress and diseases with the help of these compounds. Phalsa, strawberry, olive, avocado, cherry, fig, papaya, ber, loquat, pear, jaman, pomegranate, litchi, mulberry and guava are some minor fruits which consists of flavonoid named anthocyanins fell in the category of poly-phenolic compounds. Minor fruits enriched with vitamins, pigments, micro-nutrients, anti-oxidants and minerals that ensures better human health conditions. High medical properties, qualitative and nutritive traits are also present many of them. Management apprehensions during cultivation at commercial level, increased population pressure and high yielding varieties are discussed as some major threats for minor fruits crops and their wild species.
In current era, with continuous increase in population importance of food has dominated, to overcome this necessity fruits can play a vital role as a sustainability product for food consumption. Now a days land competition is in great rush due to human settlement, rearing of animals, farming of other crops and even cultivation of fruits got lesser importance to grow in the replacement of food.
Minor fruits are to be introduced in the value addition product because these have great medical values. Minor fruits (like papaya, jamun , strawberry , phalsa, ber, fig, mulberry, avocado, pear, loquat, litchi, cherry, olive, guava, pomegranate and ber) can play vital role positively not only for entrepreneurs and income generation of famers but also sustain level of food security as well as ensuring nutritional requirement for country. Processing situation for all minor fruit crops is very worse but for major plants like citrus has more than 90 processing plants, date consists of 2 and mango has 28 processing plants within country. It is necessary to make some incentives for the processing of minor fruits and their exports.
The concentration of existing fruit processing industry is around Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi. Their products are squashes, canned fruits, jams, jellies and pickles. Currently estimated preservation of fruit product is 2000 tons for marmalades, squashes and syrups is 18 million bottles; for pickles, jams and jellies is approximately 15000 tons. More over with evaluation of minor fruits production of preservative fruits can be increased by two folds. More markets could be opened by promoting both top as well as bottom of value added products for minor fruits.
The production of guava, jambol (Jamun), strawberry and Indian plum (Ber) is in huge amount but their export is minute. Growers obtain nothing due to wastage of majority of fruits. More over for minor fruits cultivation proper orchards are not available in country. For avenue plantation litchi, jamun and ber trees are still used due to this income generation is very low. Under cultivation of minor fruits extremely small portion of land is in use and for the processing of existing products, availability of industries is negligible. For example, although China and UAE has a big market for export in both processed and fresh form but with the production of ber larger amount, mostly it becomes wasteful material due to absent of non-processing amenities. In the sight of current situation, it is necessity of time to convince and motivate farmers for the plantation of these neglected fruits.
In the recent scenario, at district level promotion and improvement of nurseries of minor fruits as well as maintenance of standard of fruit production technologies and encouragement of industrialists to emphasis on unnoticed aspect is necessary. In Pakistan annual minor fruit production is insufficient to meet level of export potential because cultivation is less unfortunately.
For getting high yield, increase in area of cultivation of minor fruits is the dire need of time. By this turn availability of value added products and export potential will be boosted for the long time which will guarantee of increase in economic development and welfare in country. In Pakistan, there is a very bright future for cultivation of minor fruits as well as processing and export of these Horticultural products in current situation. In all Pakistan cultivation and promotion these minor fruits, farmers should be given highly recommendations.
This article is collectively authored by Syed Muhammad Zia-ul-Hassan1* Arslan Nazir2 and Rao M Sajjad Sharif3. 1Institute of horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad. 2Department of Agri. Extension, University of Agriculture Faisalabad. 3Institute of soil and Environmental Science, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.