Untapped Market Potential of Minor Fruits

Naseem Sharif
Research Officer
Horticulture Research Institute, AARI Faisalabad


After getting banned most of USA and UK markets, Pakistani farmers  need  to diversify fruit export by developing new products and adding more value to existing products. Exploring the potential of underutilized fruits could be a major gateway to uplift economy. Minor fruit Industry, like any other industry in Pakistan, is suffering due to unawareness from advanced marketing techniques, post harvest management and low yield of fruits. Pakistani farmer doesn’t know export potential of its minor fruits, although only a little attention towards value addition of these precious fruits could do amazingly well mainly on the exports front. http://zaraimedia.com

Value addition in minor fruits (lik ber, phalsa, papaya, jamun, guava, fig, pomegranate, mulberry, pear, cherry, avocado, loquat, litchi, olive, strawberry etc.) is expected to impact positively not only on income generation of farmers and entrepreneurs but also ensuring nutritional security of country. There are more than 90 processing plants for citrus, 28 for mango and two for date processing in country but situation is worst with all other minor fruit crops. Incentives to encourage processing of minor fruits and their exports are lacking. The existing fruit processing industry is concentrated around Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

They produce jams, jellies, squashes, pickles and canned fruits. The production of fruit-preserve is currently estimated at 15,000 tons out of which jams, jellies and marmalades are 2,000 tons; pickles and chutneys 10.000 tons and syrups and squashes 18 million bottles and it can increase two folds by evaluating minor fruits. There could open more markets for both top and bottom of value added minor fruit products. Pakistan produce a huge amount of guava but export is negligible, same situation is with Ber, Jamun and strawberry. Most of the fruit wastes and growers gain nothing, UAE is big market to import minor fruits.

Still there are no planned orchards for these minor fruits in country , we need to promote nurseries at district level of these ignored fruits, standardize production techologies for these fruits and convince industrialist to focus this ignored aspect. An expanded understanding of adding value to all products and practices can reduce risks of post harvest losses and maximize profits The total losses from harvest to the point of consumption are as high as 30-40%, which is worth in million of rupees. About 10-15% of fresh fruits shrivel and stale, lowering their market value and consumer acceptability. Enhancement in post-harvest processing and preservation technologies are the critical strategies to add value to the minor fruits. The best way of utilizing the delicate commodities in seasonal glut is through processing, value addition and to reduce the fruit wastage. http://zaraimedia.com

Unfortunately at present annual production of minor fruit in Pakistan is not sufficient to meet the export potential due to insufficient cultivation. There is need to increase the area of cultivation for high yield. This turn will lead to boost the export potential as well as the availability of value added products on long term basis, which will ensure welfare and increase economic development in country. Horticulture Research Institute Faisalabad is working on such aspects and has evaluated two guava varieties excellent for pickle and some Ber varieties for jam and juice purpose.

Pakistan needs sanitary and phytosanitary measures and food safety legislation to ensure compliance for better access to global markets. No regular orchard of minor fruits exist in country. Trees of jamun, ber and litchi are still used for avenue plantation, that’s why income is very low. Very small area is under cultivation of minor fruits and no industry to process existing product. For example Ber produces in surplus and goes wasted due to no processing facilities although UAE and China is big market to export in both fresh and processed form. In such situations need to convince farmers to focus these neglect plantations. In the recent scenario, future of minor fruits cultivation, processing and export is very bright in Pakistan.

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