Broccoli is currently regarded as a superfood for its significant contribution to a healthy diet. Growers and customers alike are concerned about the unpredictability of shelf life and the quick deterioration of postharvest quality. Broccoli was brought to Pakistan as a salad crop, but it failed to establish appeal among the general public and is now only grown on a small scale. Since the discovery of high-value health-protecting chemicals, the area under cultivation for broccoli has been quickly rising in industrialized countries.
According to a study conducted, the nutritional qualities of broccoli were unknown to 62% of all farmers surveyed.
A more in-depth analysis indicated that over 30% of interviewees identified broccoli as a healthful food. However, just 5% understood that it may help prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease.
Broccoli growers were largely found on the outskirts of Lahore and Islamabad, with an area of 0.01 acre under this crop, whilst commercial farmers had 0.25 acre under this crop. Farmers were mostly ignorant of the broccoli type they were raising due to a lack of information on variety selection. Growers also reported on a few more types. Respondent farmers (96 percent) rely on venders for seeds and variety, while fewer than 3% have access to alternative sources. They travelled frequently and bought seeds from different nations.
All farmers lacked sufficient information on sowing time, seedling preparation, plant to plant, and row to row distance. Farmers employed NPK and urea, whereas commercial farmers used fertilizers in 100% of cases, although without any advice. Similarly, pesticides were used as a normal practice by over 96% of commercial farms without any pest monitoring. It was fascinating to see that no insect pests or diseases were mentioned by any of the responders. Nonetheless, aphid and caterpillar attacks were recorded in the later stages of the crop, generally after the florets were harvested.
Awareness was cited by 38% of respondents as a major stumbling block, followed by a lack of quality seeds or cultivars and marketing concerns by 32%. The remainder of the respondents, on the other hand, identified growing practices and postharvest degradation as two key challenges in broccoli adoption in Pakistan.
In conclusion, farmers’ lack of awareness of health advantages, variety selection, and postharvest processing, as well as state machinery’s failure to facilitate farmers’ innovative growing culture, appear to be the most important production constraints. The lack of broccoli production and marketing figures or research studies in the nation may have contributed to stakeholders’ ignorance. Though acceptance is sluggish, it is anticipated that this crop will have a firm foothold in Pakistan’s vegetable market.
As a result, it is the duty of all stakeholders in high-value or innovative crop production in Pakistan to raise consumer and producer knowledge of the health and financial benefits of these crops.