Khairpur gets ‘sweet charlies’ from US
By Amin Ahmed
Courtesy: daily dawn, Thursday, 12 Nov, 2009
ISLAMABAD: Strawberry is no longer a fruit grown only in cool, hilly areas, as it is now being cultivated in the plains of Sindh.
Pakistanis will be able to taste two new varieties of the fruit in the beginning of the next year.
‘Sweet Charlie’ and ‘Festival’ are the varieties of strawberry whose saplings have been imported from the United States and planted in Khairpur, an area also known for the production of dates. The varieties have never been grown in Pakistan before. The Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF) is working on the project in collaboration with the Sindh government.
The saplings planted over one acre of land are expected to bear fruit from late January to March.
Over the past decade, strawberry has gained popularity in the country and is available between February and April.
Some varieties grown in Pakistan are ‘Chandelier’, ‘Corona’ and ‘Stuff’. They are mostly sour and small.
However, the two varieties imported by the CSF through the Sindh Development Fund are sweet and larger. The fund is managed by the CSF and funded by the Sindh government.
‘Several countries, including Russia and some in the Gulf and Central Asia, import strawberries in winter. Pakistan will be able to target those markets with fresh fruit if the project is successful,’ CSF Chief Executive Officer Arthur Bayhan said.
The CSF is a joint initiative of the finance ministry and the US Agency for International Development.