Rabi Fruits: Papaya

About Papaya: Papaya is a common tropical fruit with high nutritional value. It’s a tropical fruit that originated in Mexico. It is a member of the Caricaceae family and the Carica genus. It’s a fast-growing plant with a long season of fruiting and a high nutritional value. India is the world’s leading papaya grower. It can be cultivated in containers, greenhouses, and polyhouses. It also provides health benefits, such as aiding in the relief of constipation, cancer, cholesterol reduction, and the battle against cancer cells. Vitamins A and C are abundant in this fruit. Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Orissa, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, the United Kingdom, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh are some of the major papaya-growing states in India.

Growing Season and varieties: Papaya is a tropical fruit that thrives in mild sub-tropical climates. During the winter season, temperatures below 12-14 degrees Celsius for numerous hours have a significant impact on its development and productivity. Papaya grows well on sandy loam soil with good drainage. Honey Dew, Coorg Honey Dew, Washington, Pusa Delicious, and Pusa Nanha are some of the varieties.

Procedure and chemicals required: Seed and tissue culture plants are used to commercially propagate this species. 250-300 g/ha is the seed rate. The seeds after being treated with Monosan (phenyl mercuric acetate), ceresan, and other chemicals. Nursery beds are covered with polythene sheets or dried paddy straw and receive little irrigation in the morning. Seedlings with a height of 15-20 cm are chosen for planting. Spring (February-March), monsoon (June-July), and autumn (September-October) are the best times to plant (October- November). The standard spacing is 1.8 × 1.8 metres. Higher density cultivation with spacing of 1.5 x 1.5 m. /ha, on the other hand, improves returns. Pusha Nanha is a high-density planting variety with 6400 plants per hectare.

The papaya plant required a lot of manure and fertiliser. Aside from the standard manure dose of 10 kg per plant sprayed in the pits, 200-250g of N, P2O5, and K2O per plant yields a high yield. To boost growth and yield, ZnSO4 (0.5%) and H2 BO3 (0.1%) are sprayed on the plants. To avoid waterlogging, the irrigation schedule is set based on the soil type and meteorological conditions of the location. To control weed growth during the first year, deep hoeing is advised. Pre-emergence application of Fluchloralin, Alachlorin, or Butachlorine (2.0 g/ha).

It is helpful to intercrop shallow-rooted leguminous crops following non-leguminous crops. For good pollination, about 10% of the male plants are kept in the orchards.

Pest control: Fruit flies (Bactrocera cucurbitae), grosshoppers (Poekilocerus pictus), aphids (Aphis gossypii), red spider mites (Tetranychus cinnabarinus), stem borer (Dasyses rugosellus), and grey weevils are the most commonly seen insects/pests (Myllocerus viridans). Dimethoate (0.3%) or methyl demeton as a control (0.05%). Powdery mildew (Oidium caricae), anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides), damping off, and stem rot are the most common diseases observed. Effective control techniques include wettable sulphur (1 g/l), carbendazim/thiophanate methyl (1 g/l), and Kavach/Mancozeb (2 g/l).

Harvest full-size fruits when they turn light green with a hint of yellow at the apical end. The papaya plant has a short economic life of 3 to 4 years. The average yield per hectare is 75-100 tonnes.

Fruits are perishable by their very nature. They can be kept at a temperature of 10-13`C and 85-90 percent relative humidity for 1-3 weeks.

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