Peach – A potential fruit of Pothwar region
Peach (Prunus Persica) is a fleshy, delicious and popular fruit called as the Queen of fruits with good taste, attractive color, fine aroma and flavor. Peaches are cold tender deciduous fruits which require to 200 to 1000 chilling hours. It can be commercially grown from 600 to 1500 meter elevation. For good flower and better quality peaches require warm to hot summer temperature range of 30 to 35oC with cold winters. BARI has well established Germplasm Unit of peaches for long-term varietal evaluation. A list of genotypes and recommended varieties (Marked Red) is shown below.
In Pakistan, peaches are being mainly grown in northern area including Peshawar, Swat valley, Quetta, Kallat division and hilly areas of Kohistan on an acreage of approximately about 5000 hec. The commercial cultivation of peaches in Pakistan is with a humble start however the agro-climatic conditions of Peshawar valley, Punjab’s Pothohar area and northern districts of Punjab including Lahore, Sialkot and Sargodha area the future hot spots to harvest commercial benefits of this fruits. Successful cultivation of peaches in these areas presents a hopeful scenario for its future expansion. Climatic and topographical similarity of these areas of Pakistan with the main peach producing countries of the world indicate a possibility of peach cultivation especially in the Pothohar and other parts of Punjab in general. Conducive climate and good soil conditions of this region are quite suitable for establishment of commercial peach grows. Sensing the potential of successful peach cultivation in Punjab. Government of Punjab has established a germ plasm unit of peaches at Khatwai district Khushab which consist of 16 commercial peach varieties.
After performance evaluation of these varieties under local climatic conditions four varieties have been found promising with a fruit yield of 30 to 40kg/tree. Peaches give a very good economic returns which ranges from 1.5 to 2.00 lacs/acre on average basis .
Nectarines can be used in the same way as peaches, and may be considered as substitutes for peaches. Genetically, the only difference between peaches and nectarines is the lack of fuzz on the nectarine skin. Usually, nectarines are smaller than peaches and have more red color on the surface, and more aroma. The future promise for Nectarine is very bright in comparison to Peaches.