In this temporary world Allah has created every single thing with equal importance. Its mankind which makes discrimination and consider some of them superior and some inferior. Same in the case of fruits, some of them attain more importance than the others due to our discriminatory behavior. Those deprived and underrated fruits are known as minor fruits. Due to all this these fruits suffering from inferiority complex and angry with us. We all should play our part in promoting this down and out bunch of fruit plants.
Define minor fruits:
An exact definition of minor fruit crops is may be difficult. Those fruits which are edible but relatively less used than other fruits. These are grown to a limited extent and not cropped in organized plantations. Other terms used for this for these fruits are less known fruits, less appealing fruits, less exploited fruits, stray fruits and wild fruits etc.
Minor fruits of Pakistan:
- Ziziphus mauritiana:
Rich source of vitamin A, B, C and of calcium, phosphorus and iron. Have higher amount of vitamin C than oranges. It’s easily digestive and act as laxative. Decoction from roots and bark is good for dysentery and diarrhea.
- Gerwia asiatica:
It is good for blood and heart disorders, fever and diarrhea. Fruit is good for troubles of throat. Leaves are used as application pustular eruptions.
- Sizigum cummini:
Lowers the blood pressure, reduces the sugar level in urine very quickly and permanently.
- Aegle marmelos:
Bael fruit is regarded as one the best laxatives, cleans and tones up the intestines and remove constipation. The unripe or half ripe fruit is most effective food remedy for chronic diarrhea and dysentery where there is no fever. It is also useful in peptic ulcer and respiratory disorders.
- Ficus carica:
Figs are rich source of vitamin A, B complex, C, D, dietary fibers and minerals like manganese, iron, calcium and phosphorus. An enzyme ficin is present which act as mild laxative, it also helpful in piles and in removing small bladder and kidney stones
- Morus alba:
Fruit juice has therapeutic properties against sore throat and fever also good for quenching thirst in summer. Fruit can also be used fresh.
- Crissa carandus:
It is rich in vitamin C and iron, a useful remedy for swollen and bleeding gums. In subcontinent due to its iron rich properties used for anemia.
- Artocarpus hetrophyllus:
Ripe fruit is rich in minerals and vitamin A. Hot water extracts of jack leaves has been found to improve the glucose tolerance in human body, also improves the health of diabetic patients.
- Eriobotrya japonica:
Fruit is sedative and used for vomiting and thirst. An infusion of leaves is used in diarrhea
Present status of minor fruit industry in Pakistan:
Over the years we are producing same fruit crops though they are valuable and have more market value but if we grow some minor fruits which are not much familiar to most of people it will be very interesting and in this way we generate more revenue than the normal years. Exploring the potential of underutilized fruits could be major pillar to uplift the tumbling building of economy. Minor fruit industry is facing many challenges like unawareness from advanced growing techniques, marketing trends, postharvest management and low yield of fruits. Mostly our farmer is relying on major fruits and doesn’t know about the export value of minor fruits. Value addition in minor fruits not only put positive impact on the economy but also acts as a helping hand in ensuring nutritional security of country. In Pakistan more or less 90 processing units for citrus, 28 for mango and 2 for date palm but for minor fruits nothing to cheer about. These fruits provide us jams, jellies, squashes, pickles and can also be used as canned fruits. Due to lack of trust on our product export is very less for example we produce Ber, Jaman and strawberry but their export value is very low.
Suggestions for improving the status for minor fruits:
Up till now there are no proper and planned orchards for minor fruits in our country. We have to promote nurseries at district and even at lower level. Standardize production technologies should be developed and convince the industrialist to focus at these fruits. Measures should be taken to reduce post harvest losses and to maximize profit. Total losses from harvest to consumption are 30-40% which costs millions of rupees, about 10-15%of fresh fruits shrivel and stale. Government should highlight these fruits of Pakistan at every international forum so that some trust of international traders is developed on our products. The best way to utilizing these commodities in the glut situation is value addition. Apart from that in Pakistan it is a trend and tendency that people mostly like major fruits such as apple, mango and citrus etc and thinks that these are only beneficial for health because they have god nutritive value. Minor fruits are also consider as sign of poverty and on special occasions use of these fruits considered as embarrassing thing. If use minor fruits as gift than may situation start changing gradually. Every farmer should specify some portion of land for these crops according to its climate, area and season. Government should organize some competitions and festivals for the promotion of these crops, so that farmer gets involved more and more. Healthy price should be fixed from government so that charm of these crops increased. In educational institutes research on these crops should be increased. Seminars and awareness campaigns should be conducted about the importance of these fruits.
Name: Asim Mukhtar Cheema
Email: [email protected]
M.Sc (Hons) Horticulture
University of Agriculture Faisalabad