In the year 2018, I was summing up my yearly experiences and found that I got a decent number of queries regarding avocado farming in Pakistan. Avocado (Persea americana) is one of the most favorite fruits in the international market and due to its nutritious profile, it is considered a super-food.
Well! In Pakistan, it is rare and usually imported by superstores and sells at a really high price among a very limited number of customers.
With the enthusiasm to introduce advanced agriculture produce and practices, how can I ignore avocado? The usually asked question to me is “Can avocado grow in Pakistan???” and my answer is “Yes! It can grow happily”.
What is Avocado?
Let’s first introductory talk about it; Avocado (Persea americana) is a pulpy fruit tree of tropical America. It is about the size and shape of a large pear; called also avocado pear, or alligator pear, and in Urdu, it’s called makhhan phal “مکھن پھل” or Magar Nashpati. P. americana or the avocado originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The avocado fruit is ranked among super-food due to its super nutrition profile and no doubt besides its smooth creamy and tasty pulp, its unique nutrient composition makes it a favorite fruit.
Nutritional Facts about Avocado in Pakistan
We will discuss its interesting history in upcoming writings. Right now we’ll talk about its nutritional facts and plantation in Pakistan. Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B vitamins, and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene, in foods that are eaten with the fruit. It is also beneficial for cancer and heart patients.
How to Grow Avocados in Pakistan?
In Pakistan, avocado plants are available both grafted (vegetative-grown) and non-grafted (seed grown). It is important to keep in mind that grafted plants are better than non-grafted ones as grafted plants are true to type while non-grafted plants are not true to type i.e. its means; the taste, shape, or color of the fruit may not be identical to the mother tree from where the seed is collected due to the cross-pollination.
Moreover, there is not any surety about fruit bearing. The non-grated plant may bear fruit after 5 years, 10 years, and 13 years or not at all with a high plant mortality rate. Grafted plants bear fruit usually after 3-5 years of its plantation.
Pollination in Avocado Plants
Pollination is the process in which pollen transfer from a male part to a female part of the flower and the process further progress to the development of fruit. However, the single-plant of avocado can bear fruit but the pollination among avocado plants is simply amazing and exciting to know. The flowers of avocado are botanically known as “synchronous dichogamy”.
In this phenomenon, the same flowers of the same tree have both male and female characteristics i.e. the flowers act like the male in the morning and female in the afternoon or vice versa. There are two types of avocado plants “A” type and “B” type on the basis of synchronous dichogamy.
Types of Avocado Plants
Type “A” comprises the following varieties of avocado;
Gwen, Hass, Lamb Hass, Pinkerton, Reed, Rincon, Secondo, Wurtz, Lula
Type “B” comprises the following varieties of avocado;
Bacon, Edranol, Fuerte, Llanos Hass, Ryan, Sharwil, Shepard, Zutano.
The flowers of Type “A” varieties open as the female in the first morning and close in the next late morning and open in the afternoon as male flowers and flowers of Type “B” act the opposite. In other words, if flowers of type “A” will be acted as female then the flowers of type “B” act as male at the same time.
Therefore, regarding commercial plantation, both “A” and “B” type varieties are planted for efficient pollination. Otherwise, a single tree can also bear fruit because it’s partially self-pollinator.
Suitable Avocado Varieties Grow in Pakistan
In Pakistan, Hass and Lula grafted varieties are available other than non-grafted plants. Hass is the famous variety of avocados and covers almost 90% of total avocado produce followed by Fuerte in the international market.
These subtropical species need a climate without frost and not too much wind. The plantlets of Avocado should be protected from frost for 3 years, planted in the Khareef season, and given fruit in October / November. After flowering, fruit setting takes a few months.
Don’t require a specific type of soil but the drainage system of the soil should be best. However, the varieties have hardy nature and can tolerate -5oC to 45oC.
You can buy avocado plants in Pakistan in big plant nursery outlets. In the market usually, seed-grown plants are available for commercial farming of avocados better to buy plants grown by vegetative propagation only. For grafted/air layer avocado plants and more information, contact Agriculture Education Pakistan.
Acknowledged and Awarded By; UNIDO | EDI | PSF | ADB | TiE | PU | ATDC