Papaya Farming Guide:
Introduction of Papaya Farming:- Papaya, papaw or papita is a popular tropical fruit which is native to Mexico. This fruit plant belongs to the family of “Caricaceae” and genus of “Carica”. Papaya became popular due its fast growth, high yield, long fruiting period, high nutritive and medicinal values as well. Papaya has become popular all over Asia. Commercial cultivation of Papaya is very successful and highly profitable. The papaya plant has male, female, hermaphrodite (bisexual flower) and some other complex forms. Usually male papaya plants do not bear fruits and fruit shape from female plant is shorter, but the fruit shape from hermaphrodite plant is longer. India is number one producer of papaya in the world. Papaya plants can be grown in pots, containers and even in greenhouse and polyhouse.
Health Benefits of Papaya:- The following are the health benefits of papaya.
- Papaya is excellent for the skin and can be used as a face pack.
- Papaya helps in lowering the blood cholesterol levels as it is rich in fiber.
- The antioxidants in papaya help in controlling premature ageing so it is works as good anti-ageing agent.
- As the papaya seeds possess good medicinal properties, they are very good in treating intestinal worms in the body.
- Papaya juice helps in curing infections of the colon by clearing the pus and mucus from it.
- Papaya is low in calories and high in nutritional values. Hence, it is a good food for those who want to lose some weight.
- Papaya helps in preventing constipation and aids in digestion.
- Papaya is rich in Vitamin ‘A’ & Vitamin ‘C’ that help in boosting the immune power.
- Papaya helps in controlling the menstrual period irregularities in women.
- Papaya slows down the growth of the cancer cells of liver and helps in its cure.
- Papaya helps in kidney disorder cases ands found that the juice obtained from the papaya leaves helps in the dengue fever treatment.
- Papaya present in shampoos fights with dandruff.
- Papaya leaves and fruits are used in herbal products as well.
Major Producers of Papaya:- The following countries are top producers of the the papaya fruit in the world.
- Dominican Republic.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- China & Taiwan Province.
Local Names of Papaya in Asia:- Pappeeta (Urdu), Mewa (Nepali),باباي (Arabic), Mùguā,木瓜 (Chinese), lapaya (Filipino), มะละกอ, Malako (Thai), đu đủ (Vietnamese), パパイヤ, Papaiya (Japanese), ល្ហុង, P`laeh Lah Hung (Cambodian), Папайя, Papaia (Russian), Papaya (Turkish), Bogkoef, 番木瓜 (Taiwanese), Gaslabu (Sinhalese, Sri Lanka).
Local Names of Papaya in India:- Papeeta (Hindi), Boppayi Pandu (Telugu), Omakaya,Kappanga,Kaplanga (Malayalam), பப்பாளி ,Pappali (Tamil), ਪਪੀਤਾ , Katcha pepita(Punjabi), Papaiya (Gujarati), Amruta Bhanda (Oriya), Awa Thabi(Manipuri), Omita (Assamese), Parangi, Pappayi Hannu (Kannada), Papai,पपई (Marathi), Papita (Bengali).
Varieties of Papaya:– There are many hybrid / commercial varieties available in Asian regions. Some of the papaya cultivars are as follows.
Honey Dew, Washington, Solo, Co-1,Co-2,Co-3, Pusa Delicious, Pusa Nanha, Ranchi selection, Honeydew, Washington, Coorg Green Sunrise Solo, Taiwan, Ranchi selection, Coorg Honey Dew, Coorg Green. However, it is essential to find out the suitable cultivar for your region from local department of agriculture or department of horticulture.
Climate Requirement for Papaya Farming:- Though papaya is a tropical fruit plant, it also grows well in sub-tropical parts of the world. Papaya is very sensitive to frost and the temperature of 25°C to 30°C is best for its growth. In winters, cold nights cause the fruits to mature slowly and produce poor quality fruits. This crop can be grown from the sea level to an altitude of 1050 meters. However, growing above an altitude of 600 meters will result in poor quality and size. Generally, it requires 1600 mm to 2000 mm of evenly distributed rainfall if it is grown as rainfed crop. The yield will be less when compared to irrigated crop. Low temperature below 15°C and high humidity causes the fruits to lose their sweetness. Usually, it requires warm and dry climatic conditions during fruit ripening season. As papaya plants are shallow rooted, these trees will not survive in areas where heavy winds present.
Soil Requirement for Papaya Farming:- Papaya can be cultivated in wide range of soils. However, sandy and sticky or heavy clay soils are not suitable for its cultivation. The soil should be very well-drained and even 2 days water logging in the field can be fatal for the papaya plantation for clay or heavy soils, make sure to drain the water out in rainy season as this may cause foot-root and root-rot diseases. If you are going for commercial cultivation of papaya, make sure to go for soil testing. The main field should be given couple of ploughings to get to fine tilth stage and weed free. Hilly soils are ideal for papaya cultivation as these soils are being well drained in case of excess water. The ideal PH value of the soil in papaya farming is between 6.5 and 7.0.The well-drained or sandy loam soil with adequate organic matter is most important for the papaya farming to get quality fruits and yield. The most important thing of papaya cultivation is to make sure to drain out the water in case of heavy rains or floods.
Land Preparation in Papaya Farming:- Land should be prepared to make weed free and levelled. Supplement the land with well rotten farmyard manure (FMY) while giving the final touch (ploughing). Remove any weeds that are from previous crops cultivated.
Propagation in Papaya Farming:- Generally, Propagation is done through seeds.
Seed Rate, Planting in Papaya Farming:- One gram contains an about 50 to 75 seeds and needs 50 to 80 g seeds/ha at one plant per hill average of 80 % seed germination and 80% successful seedlings. The time of sowing depends upon the choice of fruiting season.Generally, papaya is planted during spring (February to March), monsoon (June to July) and autumn (October to November) months.
It takes 1 to 4 weeks from sowing to emerge the germination depending on the temperature. The seed may be treated with Thiram (TMTD) W.P. before sowing to control the fungus diseases at initial stage.
It may be sown directly in the field, but normally, it is better to be seeded to raise seedlings and transplanted to the filed.
When the seedling is 10 to 15 cm tall, it should be transplanted, but 30 to 40 cm height also can be transplanted if they are grown in a larger containers.
A spacing of 1.8 meter x 1.8 meter is normally practiced. However, higher density cultivation with spacing of 1.5 meter x 1.5 meter per hectare enhances the returns to the farmer. A 40 cm to 60 cm high bed is required if the soil is not well drained to raise the papaya seedlings. In case of high density planting, a closer spacing of 1.2 meter x 1.2 meter should be followed which will accommodate 6,400 plants per hectare land.
Minimum 10 to 20% hermaphrodite plants should be required for pollination. The seedlings should be planted in pits of 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm. In the summer months, the pits should be dug about a fortnight before planting the papaya. The pits should be e filled with top soil along with 20 kg of well decomposed farmyard manure (FMY), 1 kg of neem cake and 1 kg of bone meal. Tall and vigorous varieties should be planted at greater spacing while medium and dwarf ones at closer distance. Seedlings should be fully watered one day before transplanting in the field. Transplanting on a cloudy day or late afternoon is preferred to minimize transplanting shock. Do not plant too deep; otherwise collar-rot disease may affect the buried part of the stem. Then water immediately after planting.
Irrigation in Papaya Farming:- Usually, in papaya farming, it requires to irrigate every 2 weeks in winter season and 9 to 10 days in summer. Irrigation requirement always depends on soil and climatic conditions. In Papaya farming, furrow or ring method can be practiced. However, drip irrigation can be carried out for better use of water (useful in case of water problematic areas).Make sure to prevent the water from coming in contact with the stem of papaya plant.
Intercultural Operations in Papaya Farming:- It is recommended to go for deep hoeing during first year of planting to check the weed growth. Weeding should be carried out on regular basis especially around the papaya plants. For effective control of weeds, pre-emergence herbicide application of Fluchloralin or Alachlorin should be carried for at least 3 to 4 months. Earthing up should be carried out before or after the onset of monsoon to avoid water-stagnation and also to help the trees to stand erect.
Other activities should be practiced in papaya farming are as follows:
- Make sure to remove the side shoots of the stem as soon as possible.
- Should cut the old, dry, or diseased leaves and petioles.
- Thinning should be carried out on the fruits, which are poorly pollinated, malformed or pest-infected.
- Support the plant with stakes, which should tide with the rope, especially when bearing heavy papaya fruits and during storm/heavy winds season.
- It is recommended to pollinate by hand to increase the fruit setting and the percentage of large and normal fruits, especially when growing in net house.
In case of severe storm or flooding, make sure to follow these in papaya cultivation:
- Papaya plants should be clear with stored water, so draining is very important in papaya plantation.
- It is recommended to apply the fungicide to control phytophthora blight.
- It is recommended to spray 0.5% urea or side dress the fertilizers.
- Should support the fallen trees to keep them from the surface of the soil.
- Need to cover the papaya fruits with paper to avoid the sun scald.
- Thinning should be done on the small fruits if the trees are severely damaged.
Manures and Fertilizers in Papaya Farming:- In papaya cultivation, It is very important to have continuous fertilization for better yield.
- Apply basal dose of well rotten farm yard manure (FMY) of 10 to 12 kg/plant in prepared pits along with 250 grams of ‘N’, ‘P2O5’ and ‘K2O’. Nitrogen can be increased up to 300 grams/plant for higher yield.
- In sandy or gravel soils Boron deficiency is very common and the latex could be found on the surface of immature fruits. Micronutrients viz. ZnSO4 (0.5%) and H2 BO3 (0.1%) are sprayed in order to increase growth and yield characters.
- For the young trees, apply fertilizers in the trench (10 cm deep and 15 cm wide) around the outer of tree crown, then fill back the soil, or top dress at furrows after Irrigating the plants.
Intercropping in Papaya Farming:- Intercropping leguminous crops after non-leguminous ones, shallow rooted crops after deep rooted ones are beneficial. No intercrops should be grown after the onset of flowering stage.
Pests and Diseases in Papaya Farming:- The common pests found in papaya farming are fruit flies, ak grasshopper, aphids, red spider mite, stem borer and grey weevil. As part of control measures, infected plant parts should be destroyed and prophylactic sprays of Dimethoate (0.3%) or methyl demeton (0.05%) should be applied.
The main diseases reported in papaya farming are powdery mildew, anthracnose, and damping off & stem rot. As part of control measures for these diseases, apply wettable
sulphur (1 g./l.) carbendazim/thiophanate methyl (1 g./l.) and Kavach/Mancozeb (2 g./l.).
Other natural measures can also be carried out to minimize or control these pests and diseases.
- Should select pests and diseases tolerant varieties.
- Make sure to select well drained soil and carry out the crop rotation.
- Make sure to grow the seedlings and trees under the net house or screen house.
- Make sure to destroy the infected or damaged plants or parts as soon as they are found.
Harvesting in Papaya Farming:- It is easy to identify the papaya fruits which are ready for harvesting. These fruits are harvested when they are of full size, light green in colour with tinge of yellow at apical end. Usually, on ripening, papaya fruits of certain varieties turn yellow while other remains green in colour. When the latex ceases to be milky and become watery, the fruits ready and can be harvested.
Yield in Papaya Farming:- The economic life of papaya plant is only 3 to 4 years. The yield of papaya depends on variety, soil, climate and farm management practices. The yield of 75 to 100 tonnes per one hectare land can be obtained in a season from papaya farming depending on spacing and cultural practices.
Post harvesting Tasks in Papaya Farming:- The following tasks should be carried as part of post harvesting in papaya farming.
- After harvesting papaya, they should be graded on the basis of their weight, size and colour.
- As these fruits are highly perishable in nature, they can be stored for a period of 1 to 3 weeks @ 10 °C – 13°C and 85 to 90 % of relative humidity.
- Bamboo baskets with banana leaves and lining material should be used for packing and carrying the fruits from field to local market.