Phalsa production in Pakistan
History has revealed different fruits which have been used for cooling effects in body. Phalsa is one of them. Phalsa is known as “palsa” in Persian language and in Sindhi language it is locally called as “pharwo” or “pharwan”. It is botanically called Grewia asiatica and belong to malvaceae family. Its fruit has dark purple color with small size. Its fruit taste is like grapes. Normally, it is eaten as fresh. It is processed in juice form. Sherbet or squash are prepared from the fruit pulp by mixing it with sugar. Its native country is India and south-west Asia. At commercial level it has been cultivated in Pakistan especially in Punjab and in south Punjab of Indian region and surrounded areas of Bombay city. Its major growing countries are Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. If we see in past it has been cultivated in Philippines since 1914. If we observe the botany of its plant, it looks like a bush. Its plants have ability to resist against frost. However, in warm regions it attains good growth. Its plants can be cultivating round about one thousand elevations from the sea level. Phalsa leaves are round and small in shape that are 15 cm long and 18 cm wide. Its flowers colors are mild yellow and found in bunches. Fruit of phalsa is round with its diameter of 1-2 cm and about 0.5-2.5 gram in weight. According to its nutritional or medicinal value it has acidic sour taste. Its taste is a bit bitter and a bit sweet i.e. it has both sugar and acid in it. Hence it is delicious and made mushroobat which has a cordial effect. It gives cooling effect for throat, stomach and control the intensity of thrust. It is beneficial for heart diseases, blood pressure and fever. Its bark is used in refining of sugar and made ropes. Mostly people boiled its roots and make viscus fluid which is used for treatment of joint pain. It is cultivated through seed, but people also use its cuttings for propagation. But success of cutting is 20% and about 80% cuttings don’t grow. It can be cultivating at the end of May or at the start of June. When fruits ripen then pick the enormous size blackish fruit with carefully. Then wash the seeds and place in shade for drying. For seed sowing make a raised bed in which make rows at a distance of 10-15 cm and sow the seeds in these rows at a distance of 4-5 cm. remember that don’t sow the seed deeply. If we sow seed deeply then they create problem of sprouting or it may take a long time. So, the seed should be sowed at 1.5-2 cm deep and irrigate the furrows regularly. Over irrigation effects the growth of plant. At flowering stage less, water applied will favors the more fruit setting. It bears adverse condition but required irrigation at the start of spring season which resulted increased in new sprouting branches. Remove the weeds from furrows regularly. If fertility of soil is good and farm yard manure is enough in the soil, then there is no need to apply nitrogen or other fertilizers. If soil fertility is not good, then applying ammonium sulphate or calcium ammonium nitrate 50 gram/m sq. in the soil. Then you observe that growth of plant is good and ready to transplant in the field in January or February. The shelf life of phalsa seed is not so long so, we sow it as early as possible. The germination occurs at least in three weeks. Hence it will be sprout before 21 days. Its cuttings are used then treat them in gibberellic acid before planting. Hard-wood cuttings should be preferred over soft wood cuttings because hard-wood cuttings sprout easily. As these have ability to make roots. It can be grown in various type of soil but can also grow in sandy and loamy soils. It can also be grown in saline soil condition. Prepare the soil carefully before planting. Gunter and gawara should be grown and incorporate in soil as a green manure which increase the fertility of soil. To make garden, pits should be dug in which plant to plant distance should be 8 feet and row to row distance should also be 8 feet. In one acre 680 plants can be grown. Pits should be dig before its plantation. It will be much better for the growth of plant. If possible then mix farm yard manure in the pit to improve the fertility of soil. Plants should be grown before January and February, so the plants will produce maximum branches. The main reason behind is the dormancy period of the plant seeds which starts flowering in the spring season. For one acre of phalsa garden one bag of urea, phosphorus or DAP and one bag of potash is recommended after applying the fertilizer the garden should be irrigated. For getting better size and quality of fruit, application of zinc and iron has been proved much effective. Phalsa starts flowering in the month of February and March and this process continues until May. The flowers of the phalsa plant attract bees which plays a key role in pollination process. The initial color of the fruit is green then fruit develops and becomes red and then slowly in the later stages it shows blackish color. Phalsa is harvested in pickings on daily basis and sent to the market. We can get approximately 9-11 kg of phalsa fruit from one tree and average of 4.5-6 ton/ha. Psylla effects the phalsa plant more than any other insect. It mainly effects the leaves and new branches of the plant. Brown spot is the major disease which attack the plant from June-Aug and causes the senescence of leaves before maturation. To avoid the spreading of this disease, gather all the fallen leaves and burn them. It has a lot of benefits, it is very healthy for heart patients. It is mostly used as for juice and beverage. It makes the stomach strong and healthy. It is very beneficial for diabetic patients and is a common drink in summer season. So, we should emphasize for its commercial production as well as in kitchen gardening.
This article is collectively authored by M. Rizwan1, Dr. Rashad Mukhtar Balal1, M. Ali Khakwani2 (1Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha) (2Department of Horticulture, BZU, Multan.