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Peach: Queen of fruits.

Byline: Saeeda Habib

Peaches are believed to be the "Queen" of fruits and have the very next position after the apples in popularity. It is a remarkable fruit, having a delicious taste, a good looking colour. Fresh peach is comprised of very healthy nutrient. It has a rich source of vitamins A and C and also contains potassium and fibre. The fruit has over 80% water and one average sized Peach has 7% of the dietary fibre which is required each day. The Peach season usually starts in May and continues till the first week of September.

China is the leading Peach producing country with about 54% share of the total world production followed by Italy and the Spain. More than half of its consumption was as fresh; this is likely to increase because of the popularity of fresh-cut fruits in recent years. In Pakistan the environment is quite favourable for Peach production.

Peach is a traditional crop of Khyber Paktunkhwa province and quite favours Peach cultivation. It cultivated on the area of 6,330 hectares with the production of 36,155 tonnes in 2013-14. It is delicious in taste and attractive in flavour and aroma. There is a wide range of varieties of peaches, which makes its availability possible for long duration. Only in Peshawar region of Pakistan about four dozen varieties of peaches have been tested, and quite few are recommended for general cultivation. The peaches can do well on a variety of soils and its chilling requirements also vary with varieties, so these are also being planted in low land areas of Chakwal.

In Pakistan, the atmosphere of Khyber Paktunkhwa quite favours Peach cultivation. It is regularly done in the hilly regions of north western Himalayas. Lands over 950 meters above the sea level are ideal for the Peach nurturing. Peach is regarded as one of the most admired fruit grown in Khyber Paktunkhwa, Swat, Balochistan and the northern areas of Pakistan including Peshawar, Parachinar, Chitral, Hazara, Quetta, Pashin, Ziarat, Mastung, Skurdu, Hunza and Murree hills. Cling and free stone are two important varieties of peaches grown worldwide. In Peshawar and Swat regions Early Grand, Florida King 6-A and 8-A are the most popular cultivars. In Balochistan Golden Early, Shah Pasand and Shireen are grown.

In Pakistan the total production of peaches are 56,137 tonnes in 2013-14. Peaches are not cultivated in Sindh province. Area and production of Peach are given in Table-1 and Table-2.

Table-1: Area under Peach (Hectares)

Province###2010-11###2011-12###2012-13###2013-14

Punjab###68###42###37###39

Sindh###--###--###--###--

KPK###5,550###5,925###6,329###6,330

Balochistan###9,478###9,442###7,650###7,655

Pakistan###15,096###15,409###14,016###14,024

Table-2: Production of Peach (Tonnes)

Province###2010-11###2011-12###2012-13###2013-14

Punjab###170###120###188###130

Sindh###--###--###--###--

KPK###31,028###33,343###36,097###36,155

Balochistan###21,381###20,915###19,336###19,852

Pakistan###52,579###54,378###55,621###56,137

High quality peaches are firm and free from defects such as bruising and insect or disease damage. The best ripe peaches and nectarines have a deep yellow or creamy white colour, although colour varies according to cultivar. Peaches harvested when too green may shrivel or fail to develop a desirable flavour upon ripening. The red blush makes the fruit attractive but may not be helpful in determining fruit maturity.

Peaches cannot be consumed or processed immediately. They should be stored in an area with temperatures of 32 degrees F and high-humidity (a home refrigerator may work well). It is best to use or process the fruit as quickly as possible since it is highly perishable under high temperatures and not well suited to prolonged cold storage (more than 14 days).

World Production

Peach is a small size reddish colour sweet fruit native to northwest of China where it was first cultivated around in 2000 BC, it grows in temperate and dry climates a report said that world is producing 22 million tonnes of Peach every year.

China leads the list of world's leading Peach producer with 12.0 million tonnes of Peach, followed by Italy, Spain and USA with 1.64, 1.24 and 1.19 million tonnes respectively. Though China is the largest producing country of peaches in the world yet only 20% make it out of the country in means of export. The rest 80% are consumed within the county. World top 10 Peach producing countries are given in Table-3.

Peach is very famous fruit in the world it is widely used in salads and milkshakes, it is very useful in illness and high fever. It belongs to category of stone fruit like cherries, plums and apricot it is widely cultivated in Asian countries especially in china.

Table 3: Top ten producing countries in the world-2015 (Total World Production 22 Million Tonnes)

###Production

Rank###Country###(Million

###Tonnes)

1###China###12.0

2###Italy###1.64

3###Spain###1.34

4###USA###1.19

5###Greece###0.70

6###Turkey###0.61

7###Iran###0.52

8###Chile###0.34

9###France###0.30

10###Argentina###0.28

The health benefits of Peach fruit include relief from hypokalaemia, cancer, obesity, cholesterol, and blood stasis and neurodegenerative diseases. It helps in maintaining healthy vision, skin care, nervous system, healthy bones, and teeth. It has anti-aging properties and also helps in detoxification, as well as improving digestion and cellular health. It has a wealth of essential nutrients and antioxidants which are valuable during pregnancy and it helps in strengthening the immune system.

Future Prospects

In Pakistan and especially in KPK and Northern Areas, there is vast scope for promotion of peaches which can be aimed for international marketing by promoting processing industry for value addition and export. Horticulture in Pakistan has a huge potential for the home market as well as for the exports.

The Gulf countries are the potential market for these peaches and local farmers feel the need for export policy at government level to streamline export of Peach and supplying Peach to Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Islamabad and Karachi. Besides, Peshawar was also a big market for Peach, from where the fruit was exported to Afghanistan in a large quantity. There was a big demand for Peach fruit from the Gulf countries, but unfortunately there was no proper export policy at government level to export Peach and other fruits produced in different parts of Pakistan.

References

1. Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Government of Pakistan.

2. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Government of Pakistan.

3. Pakistan Economic Survey-2014-15, Government of Pakistan.

4. Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.
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Publication:Pakistan Food Journal
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Oct 31, 2015
Words:1105
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