Traditional pear varieties in Kashmir are facing many challenges, like low market rates, diseases, and a brief shelf life. That is why private importers, in association with the Srinagar horticulture department, have brought about half a dozen new pear varieties to Kashmir which have better features than those of the locally grown varieties. The new imported varieties include Abateh Fateh, Conference, Red Carmine, and Carmine.
Izhan Javid, chief executive officer of Fruit Master Agro Fresh, a leading fruit company, said that these pear varieties have been imported in association with the government and are being grown at the Centre of Excellence at Zawoora Srinagar.
He said that the varieties are being cultivated for research purposes as of now, but within two to three years they will be distributed among growers after the horticulture department gives the go-ahead.
According to experts, the major problems with locally grown pears like Babgosh and Koternal were russetting, less shelf life, and unsatisfactory market rates, which forced the authorities to import new varieties.
Dr Zahoor Ahmad, senior SKUAST scientist based at Pahnoo research centre, told The Kashmir Reader that the new varieties are being brought in due to their market demand.
“It is true that the traditional varieties have been seeing declining rates and are also beset with diseases, besides lesser shelf life. The new varieties ripen at different times of the year, which maintains good market rates, and they are resistant to diseases as well.”
However, Dr Ahmad warned that no variety should be imported without first undergoing quarantine and research or else it would lead to arrival of new diseases and pests.