ISLAMABAD, Jan.10 (INP): Farmers in Pakistan’s most fertile Punjab province are getting enormously enhanced yield after experimenting with high-density plantation of the centuries-old local variety of guava, a case showcasing the scope of the agricultural economy in the country.
According to a report published by Gwadar Pro on Sunday, Rao Arshad, a fruit farmer in the Faisalabad district of the province cultivated 1,000 guava plants over 8 acres of land two years ago and was amazed to see the results. His farm started yielding guava within 9 months of planting 9-month old saplings.
The size of guava bulbs and the number of bulbs on each plant were even more amazing. On average, ready-to-pluck guava weighed around half kilograms.
“In only two years, we had a bulb as big as 622 grams”, Rao said, wondering how far the bulb size could grow when his farm matures. The vendor told Gwadar Pro that these plants could yield guavas for over 35 years. He looked as if saying that it was just the beginning and more marvels could be waiting for him.
Rao purchased the saplings from a nursery in Sharaqpur Sharif, Lahore for Rs35 each.
Waseem Malik, the owner of the nursery, said that with ultra-high-density technique, over 2,000 plants of a specific guava variety could be planted in one acre of land while keeping plant-to-plant and line-to-line distance as 4 feet.
However, Rao opted for planting only 1,000 saplings per acre in his 8-acre guava farm, with a plant-to-plant distance of 6 feet and a line-to-line distance of 8 feet. It’s more cost-effective, he said. “It saves labor cost as we do most of weeding with the tractor. It also keeps the plants healthy and produces quality fruits”, he said.
The variety is local but called Chinese because of higher production. It has 3 further varieties, but the “Chinese Gola” (round-shaped) is the most popular among farmers for its quality, taste and production, Waseem Malik said.
The high-density farming involves pruning, which was experimented with this specific guava variety only recently, Waseem said. He said that earlier it was thought that pruning was not useful in guava as it stopped producing fruits after trimming. However, a few years ago the farmers learned that the mentioned variety allowed pruning, he narrated. Ever since this variety took the province by storm, the farmers have been cultivating it on a mass scale, Waseem said.
Rao said that given the present trend, high-density farming of “Chinese Gola” could earn you as much as Rs2.5 million per acre annually. It’s far more than what we earlier got through traditional farming, he said. He said that he was also contacted by exporters who needed tonnes of guava, which he said he was unable to produce at this stage.
Waseem Malik said that the “Chinese Gola” variety produced guava bulbs for 9 months. A single branch has several bulbs of various sizes, so you pick off the bigger ones, leaving the smaller ones for the next few days. This way, the plants continue producing bulbs for 9 months during a year, he said.
Tanveer Ahmad, another “Chinese Gola” nursery owner in Lahore, said that this variety could be planted in any part of Pakistan. “Presently, we are supplying the saplings in Punjab and Sindh provinces”, he said.