ISLAMABAD  - Promoting the high-value kiwi fruit farming can provide a stable source of income to Pakistani farmers.

The delicious fleshy fruit has enormous economic and nutritional importance. As a result of the numerous trials conducted in various locations, Pakistan is one of the many countries that have been cultivating it due to its rich flavour and economic significance. Talking to WealthPK, Dr Nurullah, a senior scientific officer at the National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad, said, “Kiwi is a costly fruit, but once the farmers have the resources to grow it they can make good incomes as it is a potential cash crop.” He added that Pakistan has experimented growing the fruit in its fertile soil. “The yielding age of kiwi is seven to eight years and it bears fruit in four to five years.” “Trials for cultivating kiwi, also known as Chinese gooseberry, in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in the Hazara division, have been ongoing for the past three years at a huge facility created by the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC),” he said.

He further added, “Environmental factors, such as temperature, soil aeration, soil moisture content and drought have a significant impact on kiwi growth.” “Its plant grows well in the area with an annual rainfall of 1,500 millimeters. A temperature between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius is ideal for kiwi plant growth, while temperatures between 10 and 35 degrees Celsius greatly inhibit its growth.”

Nurullah maintained that kiwi plants require well-aerated soil and are sensitive to waterlogging. “It thrives on inclined upland areas where there is no risk of waterlogging. It also thrives in acidic soil.” “Given the last three years of experience with kiwi, it is evident that the fruit grows vigorously and has a better survival rate in Shinkiari, a hilly area in Mansehra district, as compared to other lowland areas of the country,” Nurullah explained.

“The population of kiwi fruit germplasm and varieties will be utilised in further research on screening and evaluation at different locations in the Hazara division,” Nurullah said. “People from all over the world take interest in kiwi fruit due to its excellent nutritional and medicinal worth,” he said, adding commercial kiwi fruit planting would be expanded to Attock, Chakwal and the foothills of Margallas after determining that the area is appropriate for agriculture. Pakistan can benefit from Chinese experience and assistance in promoting kiwi farming. It is also crucial that the authorities hold workshops on kiwi plantations, educating the farmers about its financial benefits. Promoting kiwi farming at large scale can help Pakistan ensure financial wellbeing of its farming community.