Strawberry Production, Challenges And Marketing In Pakistan

Strawberry (Fragaria ananassa Duch.) belongs to the Rosaceae family having genus Fragaria is a fleshy and soft fruit, globally cultivated in the subtropical and temperate regions across the globe due to its exalted nutritional esteem and superior taste.

By: Uulzhan Janayshova1

1 College of Medicine, Lanzhou University, 730000 Lanzhou , China

Introduction:

Strawberry was originated in the region of North America and France. The production of strawberry has been stated in prehistoric times in Rome and commercially its production was started in the 13th century for medicinal purposes. Strawberries are cultivated due to its enviable taste, a rich source of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, fibers, potassium, sugars, and flavor. With respect to all other berries, strawberries contain the maximum proportion of phenolics, vitamin C, and flavonoids that contribute vitally to body metabolic activities. The nutritional values of 100 grams of strawberry are listed below.

Table 1. Nutritional value of 100-gram strawberry fruit

Carbohydrate

8.4 gram

Phosphorous

21 milligram

Proteins

0.07 gram

Iron

1.0 milligram

Water

89.9 gram

Sodium

1.0 milligram

Lipids

0.5 gram

Potassium

164 milligram

Fiber

1.3 gram

Vitamin A

60 iµ

Ash

1.5%

Tiomine

0.07 milligram

Calcium

21 milligram

Riboflavonoids

0.07 milligram

Pakistan is gifted by variation in climatic conditions by nature, which is suitable for the production and cultivation of strawberry in Pakistan. Low chilling conditions favor the growth of strawberry and can be propagated on all types of soil in Pakistan. In Pakistan cultivation of strawberry is mostly done in Islamabad, KPK i.e., Charsadda, Haripur, Mardan, Mansehra, and Swat, in Punjab i.e., Sheikupura, Multan, Okara, Depalpur, Lahore, Lodhran, Gujrat and Muzzafargarh in Sindh i.e., Sakkar, Dadu and Khairpur and some localities of Balochistan province. Strawberry is produced over an area of 171.0 hectares having 591.0 tones annual production having a mean yield of 5-10 tones per hectare and in Punjab, in 2014-15 it is cultivated over an area of 1,011 hectares. Chandler, Douglas, Gorella, Toro, Corona, and Tufts are locally cultivated cultivars cultivated in numerous parts of Pakistan. Strawberry is considered a newly cultivated crop in Pakistan and its average yield is quite low with respect to other countries in the globe cultivating strawberry. Reasons for low production of strawberry include improper agronomic practices, lack of research work, post-harvest losses, and lack of marketing techniques marked as important constraints. Current papers summarized the challenges and threats regarding the production of strawberry in Pakistan.

Minimum research exertion:

One of the major constraints in strawberry production in inadequate research in its cultivation in Pakistan. This is due to scientists researching in major agronomic crops to enhance productivity and exploiting fewer efforts to minor crops like strawberry, stevia, sisal, saffron, etc. due to insufficient research methodology, inappropriate agronomic, and cultural practices are adopted by farmers severely decline the productivity of strawberry.

Diseases and Pests:

Punjab strawberry is cultivated in the limited area so there is less attack of disease related to viral and bacterial but in the area of KPK, the strawberry plants are attacked by series fungal diseases like phytophthora, Anthracnose, and Rhizoctonia that decline the productivity of strawberry. Similarly, worms that feed on strawberry leaves also cause serious losses in declining strawberry yield and farmer profits. These constraints can be mitigated by the application of recommended doses of fungicides and pesticides. Another issue in the production of strawberry is certain pests like squirrel, parrots, and crow that feed on the fruit of strawberry which can be lessened by following certain measures recommended by agricultural scientists.   

Post harvest loses:

Strawberry is marked as extremely unpreserved fruit, and its fruit quality depreciates usually harvest in subordinate circumstances. Post harvest losses marked as an important threat in declining the yield of strawberry. Scientists reported that 40% of the total losses in a strawberry were contributed by improper post harvest management measures. Post harvest losses comprised of poor packing, improper harvesting, transportation, and the minimum quantity of cold chain. Out of 40%, post harvest losses, 10% occurred on the farm, 14% within the transportation, and remaining losses occurred at the retailer level. The harvesting of immature and over-ripe strawberry at farm level and post harvest fungal diseases on fruit deteriorates the fruit quality.  These post-harvest losses can be lessened by adopting adequate harvesting techniques in consultant with research experts and post harvest diseases can be lessened by application of certain hormones like salicylic acid, methyl jasmonate, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, potassium permanganate at various concentrations recommended by researchers. 

Marketing:

For the successful production, the significance of marketing can never be devalued. In Pakistan strawberry are packed in wooden baskets and then sold to the market at the rate Rs 100-120 per kg strawberry fruits in retailer market at the start of mid-March, and its prices decline up to Rs 50 per kg in April, May due to more fungal post harvest diseases and production reaches to its peak. 95% of the total production of strawberry in consumed as freshly as juices and making foods items by additional processing and trifling quantity of strawberry is exported to other nations around the world. The export of strawberry is lessened due to less production of strawberry in Pakistan that can be enhanced by exploring and publishing the importance of strawberry production compared with other crops from an economical point of view.

Conclusion:

Due to vast climatic conditions in Pakistan strawberry can be cultivated in each province of Pakistan and by improving agronomic practices, mitigating pests, post harvest disease and proper marking by appropriate research techniques can enhance the production of strawberry. Moreover, the induction of new strawberry cultivars that had attractive flavor should be introduced to enhanced strawberry productivity. Furthermore to mitigate post-harvest losses in the strawberry applications of plant hormones and proper cold store chains can lessen the post harvest losses.

All these adequate techniques assist in the enhanced productivity of strawberry and boost the strawberry exports that lead to playing a vital role in the generation of foreign revenue ultimately contributes to the development of Pakistan.

wajeeh ur Rehman

MSc. (HONS) Agronomy Plant & Microbial Ecology Lab, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

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