The production of bananas in Pakistan has increased during past few years after the successful experiments of tissue culture of Chinese imported plants.
Talking to APP on Monday, Fruit Leader of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) Dr. Alam Riaz said Pakistan produced 12 different varieties of bananas from Chinese plants that were imported in 2009.
He said one million plants of these varieties were harvested on the left bank of Sindh province in 2012 and out of these two species provided extraordinary results which were approved by Sindh Seed Council for commercial growth.
PARC named NIGAB 1 and NIGAB 2 of new varieties of bananas on the name of their research institute called National Institute of Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology (NIGAB) and it provided fruits only in 9 months that could be preserved up to 4 weeks in container.
“Pakistan is producing 150,000 tons banana per year. Banana production will be increased to 700,000 tons in coming years as the PARC is producing 50,000 and private sector is growing 500,000 to 600,000 tissue cultured plants every year for commercial yield” he added.
PARC conducted special banana producing labs in Karachi and Thatha where single plant was sold for 60 rupees and commercial sector sold tissue cultured new variety at 100 rupees per plant, he added.
‘”Conventional crop of banana in Pakistan produce 5 to 6 ton fruit on per acre, whereas, newly produced tissue cultured banana crop will produce 30,000 to 40,000 ton banana per acre that has a great potential of export” he said. Talking about the export potential of fruit he said taste of new banana was little bit different.
It had little sugar as the global buyer of banana did not like too much sugar in fruit and had long shelf life. New varieties of banana produced with an aim to target international market for export and now it’s private sector’s responsibility to grow fruit at large scale and contribute to country’s economy, he expressed.
Banana is one of the most demanding fruits. India and China produce 27% banana of the world with the production of 33 million metric tons and 11 million metric tons respectively. Philippines, Indonesia, and Brazil are also big producers of the fruit.