From 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 fruit 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 the superstores and sells on a really high price among a very limited number of customers.
With the enthusiasm to introduce advance 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”.
Introduction to 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, 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 beside its smooth creamy and tasty pulp, its unique nutrient composition make it a favorite fruit.
Nutritional facts of Avocado
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.
Now the question is how can we grow avocado 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 as grafted plants are true to type while non-grafted plants are not true to type i.e. its mean; the taste, shape or color of the fruit may not 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 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 development of fruit. However, the a single plant of avocado can bear fruit but the pollination among avocado plants is simply amazing and interesting to know. The flowers of avocado are botanically known as “synchronous dichogamy”. In this phenomenon the same flowers of the same tree having both male and female characteristics i.e. the flowers act like the male in 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 on the following varieties of avocado;
Gwen, Hass, Lamb Hass, Pinkerton, Reed, Rincon, Secondo, Wurtz, Lula
Type “B” comprises on 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 next late morning and open in the afternoon as male flowers and flowers of Type “B” act opposite. In other words, if flowers of type “A” will be acted as female then the flowers of type “B” acted 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 the fruit because it’s partially self-pollinator.
Suitable avocado varieties for Pakistan
In Pakistan, Hass and Lula grafted varieties are available other than non-grafted plants. Hass is the famous variety of avocado and covers almost 90% of total avocado produce followed by Fuerte in international market. These subtropical species needs a climate without frost and not too much wind. The plantlets of Avocado should be protected from frost for 3 years, planted in Khareef season and give fruit in October / November. After flowering, fruit setting takes a few months. Don’t require the specific type of soil but the drainage system of soil should be best. However, the varieties have hardy nature and can tolerate -5oC to 45oC.
You can find avocado plants on big plant nursery outlets. In market usually seed grown plants are available. For commercial farming of avocado better to buy plants grown by vegetative propagation only. For grafted/air layer avocado plants and more information you can contact Agri. Education Pakistan
Acknowledged and Awarded By; UNIDO | EDI | PSF | ADB | TiE | PU | ATDC