There are several issues from growing to market and then consumers in citrus. In the international market and at farm gate 40 % fruit is rejected due to poor quality and rind blemishes. In the market, the first impression is its visual quality, appearance then moderate size is very important. An eye-catching fruit with good size will be preferred more by the consumer. Hence, to meet the criteria for consumer and export quality we need to highlight the major and common problems faced by growers. In this article, I will discuss the common problems in a citrus orchard. There are following outlines for citrus orchard management in Pakistan,
- Nursery problems
- Intercropping problems
- The demand for alternative varieties
- Common citrus orchard diseases and insect
- Export policies
- Post-harvest problems
Nursery issues are very common because growers did not take seriously the low quality and disease-carrying plant. Purchasing the plants from low reputed nurseries, plants carry the soil-borne diseases for the whole life of the citrus orchard. It is suggested that the grower should disinfect the soil with the different methods before shifting the plant with fumigation with formalin. Always purchase from the certified and well-reputed nurseries. There are about 90% of growers purchase the plant from the nurseries while the other 10 % are those who manage by own self their nursery.
Usage of exhaustive Intercrops in citrus farming
The practice of wrong intercropping is very common. The farmer thinks that the revenue of citrus will be far later so that I should use the intercropping technique for quick revenue. For this purpose, farmers use the exhaustive type of crops which leads to lower the nutrition level of the soil. Commonly, fodders are cultivated among the citrus trees, which means the destruction of a citrus orchard with their own hands. Nutrition and water schedule are far different in between the citrus and fodders. Fodders needs more water while citrus is water sensitive crop, it needs neither less nor over water stress. It is suggested that those crops should be cultivated which are non-exhaustive crops.
Need to advance over previous varieties in citrus farming
As it is mentioned earlier in the nursery section that plants carrying the diseases from the nursery level then this problem is very important. In Pakistan, more than 80% of Kinnow is cultivated followed by Musamabi 4%, Feutrell’s Early 1%, and another remaining crop. Experts are now suggesting the new advanced varieties and preferring over Kinnow because 70% of Kinnow is susceptible to insect, pest, and diseases and Pakistan is included in the top 10 countries with global warming impact so that new varieties should be encouraged.
Major common pest and diseases in citrus farming
Leaf miner is very common in a citrus orchard. Insects causing the curling and shedding of leaves my making mines and tunnels inside the leaves in the backside of leaves. It is suggested that spray of different insecticides like Biofenthrin, Imidacloprid, etc.
It is happened due to excessive application of nitrogen and irrigation during flowering then there are greater chances of dropping of flower and remaining flowers changes to fruits leads to dropping on the ground. It is suggested that avoid excessive nitrogen and water during the flowering so that lesser chances of flower dropping.
Sooty mold and citrus scab
There is another issue in the citrus orchard on fruits and leaves, blackish and secretion appeared and create an unhealthy environment for fruit and plant appearance. Sooty mold is a fungus, due to excessive humidity in the air and similarly, a citrus scab is a fungal disease that split the citrus fruit skin and makes an ugly-faced fruit appearance, and it is suggested that different fungicides spray should be according to the recommendation by agricultural experts.
There are few plants in the orchard which are smaller in size and height and look unhealthy and these plants have some dry branches from the different sides of the canopy. It is suggested that remove and cut down these dry branches and cover the cuts with Bordeaux paste so that from wound some new disease or infection should not enter the plants. This is happened due to lack of care for its food and water, so it is advised to the grower that keeps every plant looking very well and takes care of the schedule of plants’ needs like water and fertilizer. If you are not going to understand what kind of fertilizer deficiency, then take the soil sample in the laboratory and recommend the fertilizer.
Lack of export policies
It was the statement of the president of export that in citrus, that due to the lack of government policies we are not being able to export our citrus in Malaysia and Iran, but we are importing from these countries and not exporting. The government should make a contact with these countries so that it should be possible to reach out to our export to these countries.
From harvest to market and then to consumer it needs a specific kind of attention for its processing and packing. The citrus commodity is transported with local transport without taking care of fruit damages. Poor and formal packing is a normal routine. It is very necessary to supply chain steps for growers and exporters. The grower will accumulate good quality and size and the processor will make good packing. Every firm has its own duty.
- Purchasing the plants from the non-certified and less reputed nursery will be looking disease promising.
- While transferring the plants in the field plants and soil should be disinfected with fumigation to avoid the soil-borne diseases.
- While maintaining the orchard, drip irrigation is best for irrigation and fertilizer schedule.
- Farmers grow the other crops like fodders, wheat, cotton in citrus as an intercropping which leads to the destruction of a citrus orchard.
- Pakistan is included in the top 10 countries, which are impacted by global warming, so there is a need for another alternative variety that can substitute over the recent varieties.
- Kinnow is 70% susceptible to insect, pest, and diseases, now exporter demanding another variety.
- Leaf miner, citrus canker, commercial fruit drop, sooty mold, citrus scab, and plant dieback are common citrus orchard problems.
- Pakistan exporting policies need to improve for Malaysia and Iran.
- Post-harvest problems are also leading to increasing the chances of rejection at the farm gate.
- 40% of citrus is rejected at farmgate due to rind blemishes.