Large-scale production of pecan nuts to help boost economy

ISLAMABAD (INP): Pakistan can add a handsome amount to its national exchequer every year by focusing on the production of pecan nuts on a large scale for export purposes, WealthPK reports. Like different vegetables, fruits and crops, the soil in many areas of Pakistan is suitable for dry fruits. Different types of dry fruits are produced in Pakistan and some are exported to other countries.
Dr Nurullah, a senior scientific officer at National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC), told WealthPK that pecan nuts farming could generate a good amount of income for farmers. Pecan nuts also contain rich essential nutrients needed for good health. He said that though pecan farming has the potential to be a successful business, prospective farmers must start with a strong foundation. “Farming pecan nuts is a long-term investment that depends on the right decision of the growers. Selecting the right location, cultivar and land preparation techniques are crucial for an orchard to maximise the return on investment,” he added.
Dr Nurullah said that pecans are mostly grown in Pakistan’s subtropical, tropical and temperate climates. Pecans cultivated in Pakistan’s north are slightly different from those grown in other parts of the country. He said that a pecan tree starts bearing fruits after six to seven years. However, grafted plants produce fruits one year before the non-grafted ones do. The plant, which is grafted, already spends a year in the nursery.
“When the nuts are physiologically ready to be picked, pecan is harvested. Manual or mechanical methods can be used for harvesting. Mechanical harvesting should be used to avoid the risk of the branches breaking while being harvested. To harvest nuts like pecans, many machines have been developed, which may decrease fruit loss and speed up the process,” he said.
Dr Nusrulah said that late harvesting of pecans could cause a variety of issues including fruit loss and outbreak of diseases. Pecans are vulnerable to a variety of diseases, pests and physiological conditions that might reduce the produce. He added that bacterial and fungal infections, particularly in humid locations, could harm pecans.
“They are attacked by some insects that have the potential to ruin the entire crop. Many of the worms and insects eat developing nuts, leaves, and stems. The most prevalent insects are powdery mildew, mites, aphids, and stem borer,” he said.
The best season for harvesting pecans is from April to July. Pecans can be stored at room temperature for about six months. “Before applying any fertiliser, the area under the trees must be cleaned of fallen leaves, twigs, pecans and shucks. Pecan trees perform well in a fertilised area. Performing this type of sanitation weekly during the growing season will help to prevent certain diseases and break the insect life cycle,” Dr Nusrullah told WealthPK.
Different nutrients and minerals that a human body needs for optimal health can be found in abundance in pecan nuts. Besides numerous other health advantages, the consumption of pecan nuts improves digestive and cardiovascular systems. The government needs to focus on pecan nuts farming in the areas where it can be grown easily. This important dry fruit doesn’t need a special storage facility and can be stored for a long time at normal temperature before exporting it to other countries or transporting it to the market.