Papaya cultivation records exponential growth
Papaya cultivation is on the rise in Nellore district with the area of the crop increasing gradually. Rice, watermelon, and lemon are common crops in the district and papaya has also been attracting the people due to its nutrients and health benefits.
Nellore: Papaya cultivation is on the rise in Nellore district with the area of the crop increasing gradually. Rice, watermelon, and lemon are common crops in the district and papaya has also been attracting the people due to its nutrients and health benefits.
In fact, papaya fruits were being transported from Kadapa and other Rayalaseema districts for a long time and the farmers were showing interest in the crop owing to demand from the consumers. Majority of the consumers were relying on corporate chain stores like ‘Reliance’ mart, ‘More’ and others for such fruits. But, since the cost at these outlets is high the consumers started preferring local varieties or locally cultivated fruits due to their availability in all seasons.
According to officials, papaya fruit crop production has increased in the district. Papaya (Carica papaya) is one of the important fruit crops grown in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. It is easy to be grown as short duration crop. Papain enzyme extracted from Papaya is used in food and medicine industry. Ripe Papaya is also rich in nutrients and contains vitamin A and Carbohydrates.
Papaya being a tropical crop requires high temperature and high humidity. Upland areas of the district which have such conditions are ideal for the crop and farmers in these locations are showing preference for Papaya because of many benefits. It comes early in bearing than any other fruit crop, produces fruits in less than a year and the production of fruits is quite high per unit area.
In Andhra Pradesh, varieties such as Honey Dew, Coorg Honey Dew, Washington, Solo, Co-1, Co-2, Co-3, Sunrise Solo and Taiwan are grown. But, Taiwan Red Lady hybrid papaya variety is being grown in many parts of Nellore. In Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka the area of this crop is increasing and the trend attracted local farmers too.
Many nurseries in the region are providing quality seeds to the farmers. “We prefer the variety as it does not rot up to 15 days which enable us to export the fruits to other parts of the state. Papaya plant takes only 4.5 months for growth and it takes another 8 months to get the yield. On an average we get a yield of 40-60 kilograms per plant.
Taiwan variety is very delicious and beneficial to health,” says P Venkanna a farmer from Kovur mandal. The crop area in 2013-14 increased exponentially to 105 hectares from only 2 hectares in 2011-12. The output also recorded a quantum leap from 285 tonnes in 2011-12 to 10,279 tonnes in 2013-14, reflecting high growth rate in productivity and commercial value.
By P V Prasad