The kinnow is a sub form of Oranges. It is smaller in size but tastes relatively similar. Kinnow is a cross between the ‘King’ & ‘Willow-leaf’ species of citrus fruits, created after successful experimentation at the Citrus Research Centre, University of California, USA in 1951. Both of these parent breeds have Indo-China origins.
The soil and climatic conditions in Pakistan have given the Kinnow a unique flavor which distinguishes it from other comparable mandarins grown in the world. Kinnow is one of the best varieties of fresh mandarins. Primarily Kinnow is in close relation with tangerine, similar in taste. Ideal conditions for growing kinnow include abundance of water, rich nitrogen content in the soil and relatively cool weather. Winter in the plains of Punjab province provides an excellent atmosphere for this fruit and the resulting fruit is sweet and has a very distinct taste. At this point Sargodha is the main citrus producing district, with about 23 per cent of Pakistan’s total citrus plantings, producing around 650,000 metric tons of fruit each year. Toba Tek Singh ranks second and Sahiwal.
As compared to the processing of other fresh fruits processing of Kinnows appears to be very well developed. There are around 250 kinnow processing enterprises in Sargodha. 140 are listed with PHDEC. 37 processing enterprises have some sort of certifications including Global GAP, HACCP and BRC and to enhance exports the processors and exporters are improving their processing plants to get more certifications particularly BRC to enter in EU market. The installed processing plants definitively require improvements for quality processing.
Pakistan is the tenth largest producer of citrus in the world (FAO STAT). Pakistan is also the largest producer of ‘Citrus Reticula’ variety (Kinnow), this unique variety of citrus is indigenous to this part of the world. According to an estimate approximately 95 percent of the total Kinow produced all over the world is grown in Pakistan. The main Kinnow growing district in is Sargogha.
Pakistan produced 2132.2,000 thousand tones of citrus (Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan 2008-09). Total world export of mandarins amounts to US Dollars 1,194,775,729 and Pakistan’s share of export is only USD 69,207,224 (UN comtrade).