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Wednesday October 27, 2021

Green gold

October 12, 2019

Avocado fruit is called 'green gold' because of its high value. Avocado is very healthy and with good promotion the fruit has increased it’s use and price. Peru, Mexico and California in the US have huge avocado exports and the industry creates thousands of jobs in these places. The avocado plant requires hot humid weather, no frost, good water supply and drainage. The trees grows as big as mango trees and require space between them; they are mostly planted in hilly areas for good drainage and to avoid the cold settling in the plains.

In Pakistan, the avocado tree Hass and Lula grafted varieties have successfully been grown in Sargodha, Lahore, Sukkur and even Charsadda in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Hass variety is the export variety. But as there are no concentrated efforts to improve avocado production for export, the local production ends up rotting in fruit stands. Avocado is also called 'Makhan Phal' or 'Magar Nashpati' (Alligator pear) in Pakistan. The government of Pakistan can select an area for avocado production. The farmers there should be trained and helped to increase avocado plantation. At the same time, the government should float a tender for setting up avocado sorting, packing and storing services according to export standards. Since the avocado is such an expensive and in-demand fruit, a number of companies would rush to get new supplies. The government can also request the sorting company to install drip irrigation for avocado plants to reduce use of water and increase production. All the avocado should be exported from that area via air or a speed boat route to Gulf regions can also be developed for exports. This way Pakistan can increase it’s exports and introduce new agriculture and food sorting technologies, while local farmers can earn handsome incomes from this 'green gold'.

Engr Shahryar Khan Baseer

Peshawar