Strawberry cultivation in southern Punjab Pakistan
Strawberry, Fragaria × ananassa Duch., is an emerging exotic fruit crop in subtropical regions of Pakistan. It was first introduced during early 1980s in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly NWFP) and was locally called as ground mulberry. It remained unnoticed until commercial production came from sporadic plantations of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Owing to its unique, desirable taste and high profitability, it was introduced in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. 'Chandler', 'Corona', 'Douglas', 'Tufts', 'Gorella' and 'Toro' are the important cultivars of strawberry. The climate of South Punjab is not ideal for production of strawberry runners. However, sourcing of runners from the Swat region (80% success rate) each year has made its cultivation a success in this region. It is now commercially cultivated on raised beds with double rows on loamy soils along the riverine belts of Chenab. Mostly, fruits are marketed using wooden baskets with 8-9 kg net fruit weight fetching US$ 1-2 kg-1 in local market (from February to April in Multan district). Average yield ha-1 varies between 5-10 t. Over 95% fruit is domestically consumed as fresh with little processing and negligible exports. Postharvest losses are very high (>40%) mainly due to non-selective harvesting, poor packaging and transportation and almost absence of cold chain. Lack of systematic R&D, shortage of quality runners, prevalence of insect pest and diseases, occurrence of high postharvest losses and limited processing facilities are the main impediments of strawberry industry development. At present, in South Punjab, cultivation of strawberry has not been exploited for its full production potential. Therefore, with improved infrastructure, production practices and postharvest facilities its quality production can be increased for domestic as well as export markets. The present study will provide comprehensive information on strawberry industry, along with its future prospects in South Punjab.
Rajwana, I.A., Razzaq, K., Hussain, S.B., Amin, M., Khan, A.S. and Malik, A.U. (2017). Strawberry cultivation in southern Punjab Pakistan. Acta Hortic. 1156, 909-914
strawberry, subtropics, production, marketing