Organic fruit production
(Written by Muhammad Ahsan Qureshi)
Fruits are the most delicious food itemsof Almighty Allah. Fruits are equally liked by almost every one under the heaven. Fruit may be defined as a ripened ovary ((Botanically) orripened seed-bearing part of a plant which is fleshy and edible(Horticultural). Mostly fruits, from a horticultural perspective are grown on a woody plant with the exception of strawberries.Nutritionalvalue of fruits is widely accepted in the world. But its nutrition is directly related to cultural practices (pruning, Irrigation, fertilizer, Pesticides etc). Now, a day’s people are most conscious about their health.Fruits are considered as a good source of minerals, vitamin, phenolic compounds and dietary antioxidants. Consumers are more conscious about health promoting benefits of the fruit. Organic production in fruits is a modern concept and being practiced in almost all parts of world. Organically produced fruits are more delicious and ensure our health because there is no application of fertilizers, no use of any kind of chemical so they are free from all types of hazardous compounds.The European Union funded study found that organic fruit have up to 50% more antioxidants, which scientists believe can cut the risk of cancer and heart disease. They have also more vitamins and minerals such as iron and zinc. According to other recent studies, organic foods are better for fighting cancer. And people eating organic food have improved immune system, better sleeping habits and are less likely to be overweight than when eating “conventional” foods. The taste of organic fruits and vegetables is often superior to any conventional produce.
Organic fruit production “an ecologicalfruit production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity”. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and onmanagement practices that restore, maintain, or enhance ecological harmony. The primary goal of organicfruit production is to optimize the health and productivity ofinterdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.
Nature has blessed Pakistan with diverse ideal climate for growing a wide range of delicious fruits. Thus a very wide range of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate fruits (> 50) are grown in the country. Citrus is the leading fruit in the country followed by mango, date, apple, guava, apricot, peaches etc, According to an estimate, 60, 000 ha of citrus fruit organically in the world. This constitutes just 0.7 % of the world citrus area of 8.9 million ha in 2009.Italy has the highest share of organic citrus fruit (13.5%) followed by France (10.6%) and Burkina Faso (9.5%) but unfortunately no data is available for organic citrus production in the Pakistan as one of the leading citrus producer of the world.
Organic citrus fruit area of the world
The total area under organic temperate fruit recorded here (125,000 ha), is 1% of the total are of temperatefruit grown in the world (11.9 million ha) in 2009. Organic temperate fruit area is increased about 2.11 fold from 2004 to 2010.
Area under Organic Temperate fruit Production
The countries with thelargest temperate fruit areas are Italy, Poland, Turkey and the United States however, thehighest share are Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Denmark for organictemperate fruit production. Apple is the leading temperate fruit for area under organic cultivationof the world followed by Apricots, plums, pears, cherries and peaches etc.But no data is present in the literature for organic temperate fruit production in the Pakistan.
Distribution of area under organic temperate fruit of the world
During the 2009, area under organic tropical and subtropical fruits was (190,000 hectares) which is about 0.8% of the total area of the tropical and subtropical fruit grown in the world (23 million hectares). Mexico is the largest grower having the area of 46, 670 ha for organic tropical and subtropical fruit followed by Philippines (31,285ha), Dominican Republic (22,856ha), Brazil (12,300ha) and Turkey (11,270 ha) etc. On the contrary in Pakistanjust 919 ha is under the cultivation of organic tropical and subtropical fruit which shares about 0.3% world organictropical and subtropical fruit production. The area under tropical and subtropical fruit is continuously increasing increased from last 6-7 years. It was increased about 400% in 2010 as compared to 2004.
In the world the major tropical and subtropical fruits are banana cultivated on area of (85,940 ha), avocados (34,873 ha) and mangoes (26,154 ha).
Worldwide tropical and subtropical fruit area distribution
Keeping in view the above mentioned facts, importance and also thenutritional value of the organic fruits, it can be concluded that the area and production under organic fruit production is increasedincreasing rapidly. Also the awareness among the consumers isincreasing and they prefer to eat organic fruit. In order to meet the demand of the world and also for local people who know the value of organic fruits growers of thePakistan must produce healthy, nutritional and chemicals free fruits.
Muhammad Ahsan Qureshi is student of B.Sc(Hons) Agriculture (7th Semester) in Institute of Horticulture Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. He is also affiliated with Agrihunt as an Author.