Among the diverse class of citrus fruits, Kinnow holds great significance due to the abundance of Vitamin C. Citrus fruits are nutrient rich, thus the benefits are multiplied in kinnow as it is a hybrid fruit of Mandarin and Malta.
Pakistan is the 13th largest cultivator of citrus fruit, utilizing an area of 6.67 million acres for kinnow farming mainly in the domain of Punjab province. Pakistan’s Kinnow production reaches 2 million metric tonnes annually making it a major export commodity as well as it contributes almost 97 percent to all citrus exports from Pakistan. Afghanistan and Russia import more than 80 percent of Kinnows produced in Pakistan, other importers include Indonesia, UAE and Philippines. Exporters from Pakistan are trying to approach Malaysian market as well, owing to high demand there and opportunities for further trade collaborations. Kinnow exported abroad is primarily consumed by extracting its juice and not consumed as a table fruit due to alternates like seedless mandarin from Spain, Argentina and South Africa. If only seedless kinnow is grown, it alone holds great trade expansion beyond borders. To accelerate bulk export of citrus fruit Pakistani researchers must escalate the production of seedless citrus fruits along with consequential improvement in the quality and taste of the fruit.
Richness of vitamin C and calcium in Kinnow aids in strengthening bones and immunity as it provides an approximate 30% of daily DVA. Other nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus and copper are valuable for health specifically for cognitive and muscular performance. Kinnow helps in preventing kidney stones that are caused by a low amount of citrate. Kinnow nutrients are beneficial to skincare as it helps in exfoliation. Extraction of juice is another way of benefiting from this fruit. Despite being rich in nutrients, Kinnow juice is low in calories and can help in shedding weight, hence an essential fruit in a weight watcher’s diet plan. Endless benefits of the citrus family don’t end here. According to an analysis by researchers from Harvard lead to the conclusion that abundance of vitamin C and flavonoids in Citrus fruits can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer.
Due to the varied range of Kinnow nutrition and benefits, it is consumed by masses on a broad scale. Excessive demand results in excessive production. At the same time, Unreliable cultivation techniques also accelerate Kinnow waste production. A huge amount of Kinnow waste which includes peel, seed and leftover pulp is produced after the utilization or juice extraction and increases the loads of solid waste in Pakistan where a chief part of it contains Kinnow peel waste. Not only does it have economical loss but nutritional loss which contributes to carbon footprints. Citrus peel has various healthy functions as it contains a high amount of fiber and minerals. Kinnow peel can be used as animal food thus reducing the food wastage to a certain degree as well as there are other ways to utilize the waste of kinnow, such as the opportunity of the fruit drying industry. Moreover, Kinnow peel can be used in various herbal, baking and cooking products. By productive reuse of citrus peel, food wastage can be controlled to a measurable extent if only an industry for fruit waste valorization is established.
Food wastage is partly responsible for drastic climate change which is impacting the agriculture sector rapidly and Kinnow is vulnerable to climate change. Altered rain patterns and increase in temperature has led to low yield of kinnow and other citrus fruits production. Even the quality has reduced to a low degree. The consequences have directly affected the citrus export industry.
We are in dire need of advanced technologies to ensure the sustainability of citrus fruits.
Thumbnail and preview image credits: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/06/05/pakistan-exported-record-370000-tons-of-kinnow-in-2017-18/