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Chiku or Sapodilla - The Neglected Fruit of Sindh

By Mrs. Farzana Panhwar (2005).


Sapodilla's rank

With some 85% as edible portion, it ranks among the top performers of high pulp ratio fruits, but it lacks the position it deserves, due to inadequate research and support.

- It originates from tropical South America and was spread by the Portuguese in the tropics of the Old World.

- Popenoe an early American horticulturist in 1920, gives two quotations of his predecessors; Thomas Firminger an English man who lived in India called it; “a more luscious, cool and agreeable fruit, not to be met with in any other part of the world” and French botanist Michel Etienn Descourtilz considered it; "the sweet perfumes of honey, jasmine and lily of the valley".

- The Portuguese established in South India. It is not certain when it came to Sindh. It may have been introduced when Sindh was part of Bombay Presidency and came from there with the immigrant Marhata Gujarati community or it was already here brought by Goa’s Portugese Catholics, who established a church on Liari in the present Gulshan-e-Iqbal in 1818 under licence from Mir Karam Ali Khan Talpur, who granted them land and permission to establish a church, to get Portuguese support for guns etc., against the British advances in India.

- Post Independence brought it in Lower Sindh south of line running east to west from Hala to Shahdadpur and to best luck of young trees, there have been no frosts in recent years.

- The severity of frostily winter has been counter-acted by almost perennial irrigation in Kotri and Sukkur Barrage Commands. As a mature tree it can stand frosts up to -2 °C.

- Since it can stand high water table, flooding for short time, high humidity, dry weather and even a couple of degree of frost when tree matures, it can very easily be a fruit tree next in importance to mango, only if its post-harvest life is improved.

- In absence of post-harvest technology there is seasonal glut prices come down and farmers get poor returns.

- No attempt has been made to squeeze its harvest within short period and either early or late. Due to short post-harvest life, its export potential has been very limited even in local markets of Pakistan.

- Once efforts to increase its post-harvest life by 10-14 days become possible, it will be the time to improve agronomical practices due to new incentives of prices, which would come automatically.

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Chiku or Sapodilla - The Neglected Fruit of Sindh.

More research papers: see Farzana Panhwar.


Last update: 04 october 2022

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