SARGODHA: Sargodha district of Punjab province enjoys the distinction of being profound producer of kinnow, a fruit relished for its great taste and multiple health benefits.
According to an estimate,Sargodha produces 96 per cent of the total produce of kinnow in the country and its orchards sprawl over hundreds of thousands of acres.
Kinnow, a variety of citrus fruit, has a unique taste as well as nutritional and medicinal properties.Its rich in vitamin C, sugar, iron, manganese, zinc and copper.
Health experts say kinnow juice cleans blood, boosts immune system, strengthens stomach and liver functions and is very useful in controlling heart diseases.
Sargodha and Bhalwal areas economy heavily depends on kinnow cultivation, and there are around 250 kinnow processing centres in the region which employ over 250,000 people. According to a recent report on kinnow yield, Pakistan had 2.1 per cent share, producing 2.5 million tonnes.
Kinnow is also cultivated in other parts of country, besides Sargodha. Director General Ayub Research Institute Muhammad Nawaz Khan Mekan told APP during his visit to Sargodha that Kinnow is the most cultivated fruit in Pakistan and is most exported fruit as well.
He said that ARI was guiding the farmer community across Punjab and making all out efforts to improve citrus yield.
“ ARI is providing all necessary guidance to growers including horticulture, soil preparation, prevention of diseases and better yields.”
Since kinnow is a unique and standard fruit in terms of its taste as compared to other citrus varieties, it is being cultivated on more area, he added.
“So far our agricultural scientists have developed about 10 different varieties of citrus and got them registered.”
He further said kinnow was also cultivated in Pothohar and South Punjab districts of Bhakkar, Layyah, DG Khan and Mankera.
“At present, its cultivation area is over 500,000 acres in Punjab, out of which 250,000 acre area alone belongs to Sargodha and adjacent areas.”
He urged the kinnow growers to cultivate citrus crop in their fields but prior to that they must get soil test first and then cultivate citrus institute’s recommended kinnow saplings.