Program activities citrus sector
Citrus is one of the major fruit crops of Pakistan. Pakistan is currently an important global producer and increasingly, an exporter. In 2004, the total citrus production exceeded 167,000 tonnes with 95% produced in the Punjab, 1.6% in Sindh and 2.2% in North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Most of the citrus production in Pakistan (80%) is reliant on a mandarins. Cultivar Kinnow dominates production, together with another cultivar, Feutrell. Pakistan is the largest producer of Kinnow, generating 95% of the world Kinnow production. In general 35% of the total produce is lost during pre and post harvest stages due to poor disease management, weather extremes, harvest delays, poor harvesting practices, poor road conditions and cold storage facilities and over supply of the product in some years.
The key constraints identified are poor orchard and nursery practices, unreliable supply of certified seeds and bud wood, inefficient fruit production and irrigation practices, inadequate pest and disease management strategies (greening and canker disease), lack of cultivars and rootstocks, unavailability of seedless cultivar, overproduction and post harvest losses, lack of cold storage facilities, dysfunctional research and extension system, small scale farming, pre harvest contract system (advance sale to middle men), disadvantaged growers with lack of knowledge, literacy and access to information.
Australia has a vibrant citrus industry. Opportunities where Australian expertise is well positioned to support Pakistan are in the introduction and evaluation of new citrus varieties and types, the improvement of nursery production systems for virus free stock and the assembly and testing of improved management packages (comprising better tree management, irrigation and fertilisation practices and pest and disease management) to increase yields and product quality, and on enhancing the extension system.
Two technical workshops on citrus were held on 22nd and 24th to 25th July 2006 in Sargodha and Islamabad respectively. The main workshop in Islamabad covered a broad cross-section of the Pakistan citrus sector and brought together Australian citrus experts and Pakistan citrus scientists and extensionists with the private sector and citrus processors and marketers. Outcomes of the workshop, will feed into the development of a citrus research and development project.
Industry exposure visits
A group of Pakistan technical experts and industry representatives comprising 3 Govt. officials (MINFAL; Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Board; Punjab Dept. Agri-marketing), 4 citrus growers, 2 citrus processors and 1 citrus post harvest specialist visited the Australian citrus industry 10-19 May 2006. A report is available on the outcomes of the delegation’s visit and itinerary, which included visits to key research institutions in Queensland, NSW and South Australia, as well as providing exposure to commercial citrus farms, industry organisations, processing and marketing.
A citrus industry constraints analysis coupled with the citrus workshop was undertaken during July 2006. The objectives of the industry assessment and project scoping visit was to assess the opportunities and constraints in the Pakistan citrus industry, focussing on the Kinnow mandarin industry in Punjab, and NWFP’s orange industry, and to identify issues that could be addressed through subsequent activities funded under the ASLP. The scoping study report is attached below.
Research, development and capacity building projects
Based on the outcomes of the citrus workshop and the scoping study report a research and development project to increase citrus production through improved orchard management techniques was implemented in May 2007. Its main collaborating institutions are:
- NSW Department of Primary Industries, Australia
- Institute of Plant and Environmental Protection, NARC, Pakistan
- Horticulture Research Institute, NARC, Pakistan
- Orange Research Institute Sargodha, Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Pakistan
- University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan