The fruits of mulberry, family Moraceae, botanically named Ficus carica, are called fig or Anjeer. In remote era, figs were the earliest cultivated trees which were originated in region of western Asia and Mediterranean regions. Worldwide major producers of figs are Mexico, Iran, Spain, Greece, Turkey, China and Syria. Some parts of Punjab, KPK and Sindh are growing figs at small scale in Pakistan to meet domestic need with its imports.
Now-a-days demand of fig domestically is being met with imports. More than 200,000 kilogram figs were imported during the 2007-08 for domestic needs at the cost of 24,000,000 rupees. The money spent can be saved with managed and appropriate cultivation of fig by its import. Better quality breeding material has been established in Punjab especially in Chakwal.
A new variety named Black Ball has been developed by help of research that not only cultivate in Barani Areas but also in different irrigated areas of Punjab.
The distribution of fig is mainly tropical to subtropical zone and can grow better with suitable drainage system in the soil of light sandy and loamy. There are different methods of propagation available and practicing for fig cultivation such as layering, grafting and budding but the quickest and reliable method is cutting of stem.
Seed propagation is hardly used due to development of fruit having poor quality. Fig fruit produced by seed propagation has poor quality so propagation of seed is rarely take place.
Tree takes long time to become a mature and for fruit bearing which is approximately six to eight years. During harvest time fruit picking is necessarily done at daily basis or weekly because it’s ripening is irregular. Therefore fig fruit is only relished at its complete ripening and it is quickly perish after complete ripening.
The growth of fig enhance by application of decayed plant debris. This plant has moderate behavior of tolerant towards salinity where as it likes sufficient amount of water from sowing to fruiting stage.
Fig trees having broad-leaved, bushy and reaches five to six meters the height. At the stage of ripening; the fig fruit turns light purple and soft, peppered with tiny edible seeds. By consuming dried figs as raw fruit gives very pleasant taste.
There are different features of fig fruit for example delicious chewy flesh, crunchy edible seeds, great texture and smooth skin with great taste. Throughout the year dehydrated figs are mostly utilized because of their nutritious nature. During different growth and development stages it varies in color of skin from green to purple then black and its flesh color turns red to pink.
Health benefits of fig
Fig has been mentioned as a fruit of heaven In Holy Quran as well as Christian scriptures. An excellent enriched source of minerals and vitamins are figs dried by natural methods. By the usage of figs, high blood pressure can be controlled.
Hypertension can be reduced because of comprising potassium and also very helpful for senses. People mostly consuming sodium which exists in their diet and use less vegetables and fruits, are more vulnerable and susceptible to hypertension.
People can lose their body weight by its use because figs are more dietary fiber source. Figs are augment source of calcium, with its consumption, physical nature of bone becomes stronger due to enhancement of bone density. Triglycerides a fat which is present in stream of blood, can be reduced by consumption of leaves of figs especially for cardiac patient. So it is healthy to maintain good performance of cardiac.
Properties of fig
Different necessary elements are present in figs such as Manganese, benzaldehyde; which is an anti-cancer agent with beta carotene, also other elements like vitamin A, B complex, K, iron and potassium. Digestion enzymes, ficain and flavonoids are also present in them.
Figs are constructive for digestive system having dietary fiber which helps to prevent anemia, digestion and constipation. Stomach diseases such as constipation and indigestion can be limited by improving metabolism. Piles can be cured by their daily use in diet.
Blood cholesterol level can also be abridged with enzyme named as pectin found abundant in them. Calcium is abundant in them which plays vital role in improvement of bone health. Those children who don’t like to drink milk even to see milk, give them 1 to 2 figs daily for enhancing their physical health.
Different problems such as insomnia, sleeplessness and memory power as well as sexual power loss take place, for curing of these diseases fig has ability and also improves fertility of male reproductive system. Omega 6 fatty acids and phenol omega 3 are present in fig and these are more effective for coronary diseases.
For problems of skin acne such as face pimples, take only 2 figs, make paste on hand and then apply on face, wash face with fresh water after drying. This procedure should be at daily basis for a week and amazing would be the result of glowing the skin.
Moreover, excessive use of figs causes diarrhea and tooth decay because dried figs consist of high contents of sugars. In Pakistan this is the need of time to increase the production of figs to meet the increasing domestic demand and for export purposes to different countries.
This article is collectively authored by Arslan Nazir1*, Syed Muhammad Zia-ul-Hassan2 and Rao M. Sajjad Sharif3. 1Institute of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, University of Agriculture Faisalabad. 2Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad. 3Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.