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Seedlessness In Fruits And Wto Regimes
By Miss Naseem Sharif (Research Officer)
Horticultural Research Institute, AARI Faisalabad

In Pakistan, almost every second businessman appears to be suffering from an unknown fear of the World Trade Organization and expecting, anytime now or later. One reason is obvious: lack of knowledge and awareness among the middle class traders about the WTO, its functioning, its rules and its key objectives. Another reason is the uncertainty that free trade can bring in its wake; our entrepreneurs have grown up in a protectionist atmosphere. Countries, which would not cope with the changing environmental conditions, may be devastated. WTO decisions are absolute and every member must abide by its rulings. Developing countries depend a lot on the agricultural sector for employment generation and export earnings. They therefore, are desperate to safeguard the interests of their farm sectors, which are endangered by protectionist. The recent WTO deal at Geneva whereby the rich developed countries have agreed to eliminate export subsidies and drastically reduce domestic subsidies given to their farm sector is being put to varying interpretations, which will provide a level playing field to the farm products of developing countries in both domestic and export markets. Developing countries like Pakistan need to concentrate on their comparative advantages to survive in global marketing competition.

 

Agriculture being the lynchpin of Pakistanís economy needs special attention in this regard and improvement in any area of this sector affects the economy substantially. Seedlessness is a highly desirable subjective quality in many fruits and vegetables, and seedless fruit cultivars now make up the overwhelming majority of many fruits. Seedless fruits possess no seeds, generally to make consumption easier and more convenient. They are therefore considered commercially valuable. Most commercially-produced seedless fruits have been developed from plants whose fruits normally contain numerous relatively large hard seeds distributed throughout the flesh of the fruit. Seedless fruits can develop in one of two ways: either the fruit develops without any fertilization (Parthenocarpy), or pollination triggers fruit development but the ovules or embryos abort without producing mature seeds (stenospermocarpy). Seedlessness is desirable in Citrus, Guava, Watermelon, Grapes, Papaya, and in Loquat. Seeds of many fruits have specific chemicals material which disturb stomach (customer disliking) and seedlessness is requirement of many processing industries as well. The Pakistan Horticulture Development & Export Board (PHDEB) is confident that, with the development of seedless variety, fruits, export may touch a new highway during the coming season.

Kinnow, which is a major export item of Pakistan, has bright prospects for future as researchers hope to soon develop a seedless variety of the soft scented, juicy fruit. Work on seedless variety is underway at National Institute of Agriculture and Biology (NIAB), Faisalabad, in collaboration with Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission {PAEC). Every year, Kinnow exports bring precious foreign exchange and its promise that seedless varieties will boost up further.
Iran, Russia, Ukraine, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Eastern Europe are major export markets for Pakistani Kinnow. Pakistani Kinnow was not given much importance in European countries due to 20 to 25 seeds per fruit, which pose problems in juice industry. There are around 200 Kinnow processing units in the country. Most of these have been established quite recently and are contributing a lot in enhancing the quality of Kinnow for export purposes. It is not only a much produced fruit but also much consumed. In world the plants of seedless Kinnow is produced through tissue culture and the government has sold 110,000 million saplings to the growers so far. Almost 400-450 saplings of seedless Kinnow are being sold every day to the growers. Seedless fruits of watermelon are produced on triploid plants, whose three sets of chromosomes prevent meiosis from taking place and thus do not produce fertile gametes. Seedless watermelons are grown from seeds. Such plants can arise by spontaneous mutation or by crossing diploid and tetraploid lines of watermelon or by using soft-X-irradiated pollens. Hybrid seedless Sugar Baby, a commercial watermelon variety of Pakistan has been evolved having 90-95 days maturity period with average fruit weight 6-7 kg. Possess strong plant growth and resistance to heat and Very suitable for remote transportation as well. Commercially available seedless watermelon seeds actually contain two varieties of seeds; that of the triploid seedless plant itself (recognizable because the seed is larger), and the diploid plant which is needed to pollenize the triploid. Unless both plant types are grown in the same vicinity, no seedless fruit will result. Seedless watermelon varieties released include; Orchid Sweet, Black Pearl, Red Export and Sky Bell. Pakistan has diversified landscape natural resources-filled lush green hills, where loquat production is abundant including Tret, Chhattar, Rawalpindi, Hasan Abdal, Wah, Hari Pur, Mardan, Kalar Kahar and Choa Saiden Shah.

The development of the seedless loquat has been announced in Chiba and Japan. The average weight of the seedless loquat called Kibou is 70 grams. Some are bigger than a hen's egg and big enough to completely fill a man's palm with a single fruit. So, adopting these seedless varieties we can boost hilly area income. There is a great need to characterize the available loquat genotypes of Pakistan. The breakthrough came in seedless tomato with the release of Sweet Seedless and Gold Nugget varieties. These are hybrid tomatoes that produces 8 to 10 ounce red, round, juicy tomatoes a little bigger than baseballs. Creating a seedless tomato is a complicated breeding process. Papaya the fruit of angles is excellent source of vitamins and useful in much skin, heart and inflammatory diseases. Large no of seeds are a problem in customer liking. By focusing research its seedless evolution, it can be a major entity for export. Grape breeders have responded to consumer preference for seedless grapes with the development of numerous improved varieties including Thompson Seedless, Russian Seedless, and Black Monukka. Seedlessness is a highly desirable subjective quality in table grape selection, and seedless cultivars now make up the overwhelming majority of table grape plantings.

There are currently more than a dozen varieties of seedless grapes. Need of time is cultivate on more broad bases to improve trade. Increased production is the key to promoting the export of horticultural crops. However, lack of incentives and high-tech guidance from the extension department hinder the process. In an attempt to keep peace with the process of globalization under WTO regime and the lendersí conditionality, Pakistan has exposed its domestic industry to harsh foreign competition. As a result, even some of its efficient export-oriented and import substitution industry is being adversely affected. Seedless fruits from Pakistan could soon be heading for European markets following a breakthrough in production in the country, with reports suggesting the fruit could hit the bloc by 2012. If we move professionally and meet quarantine requirements, we can grab the market volumes as we are already meeting the Plant Protection Organization requirements of many UAE countries and European countries can open their door for our imports. The need of the hour is that we should adopt new technology to meet international requirements. We should produce seedless fruit varieties; adopt scientific techniques to perform various marketing activities and to reduce post harvest losses, in order to line with international competitive marketing systems.
 

Courtesy: Pakissan Team

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