Also known by the name “Carica Papaya”, papaya is a fruit that belongs to the tropical regions of the world. The fruit is popularly known for its high nutritive and medicinal value. The countries of origin of papaya farming are Mexico and Costa Rica. Furthermore, papaya farming is a highly productive crop, i.e., the production of papaya fruits is remarkably high per hectare. As per surveys publicly available, papaya farming yields about 47280 tonnes per 3670 hectares per annum.
The fruit plant is mainly grown in the foothills of the Himalayas in many regions of northeastern India. The Papaya plant was first grown in India in the 16th century. However, in spite of its non-native origin, it was adapted with love and is the fifth most economically beneficial fruit in the country. In fact, India holds the first position in papaya farming around the world with 3 million tonnes of annual production. Behind India are Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, Peru, Thailand, and the Philippines.
A must-read: Top 10 Agricultural productive countries in the world.
The potential of papaya farming and its profitability
As per reports, papaya farming is a highly profitable business in India. In this section, we will analyse some data and conclude with some answers. Further just to mention, the labour cost, transport, etc., will vary across the country. It is to inform you that the numbers below used are just indicative factors, and therefore, viewers’ discretion is advised.
If your farmland needs 1700 plants, buy at Rs 10 per sapling or plant. In this case, you have to work manually or employ labour for the first 100 days (labour costs might vary per region). Furthermore, 1 Kg of urea and murinate cost about Rs 50 and Rs 8, respectively. In addition to this, the cost of irrigation per acre of agricultural land involved in papaya farming is Rs 35000-55000 (for 3 m of planting distance).
Further speaking, the usual cost of insecticide or pesticide is Rs 451/L. In addition to these costs, the land (if rented) not included in the calculation. On calculation, keeping in mind all the necessary macro and micro-investments in concern, the total cost of implementation of all steps in starting a papaya farming business is Rs 210000 per acre. Furthermore, as per experts’ estimation, 1 acre of papaya plantation produces around 27000 Kg of papaya.
Further speaking, the market price of 1 Kg of papaya fruit is about Rs 20. Additionally speaking, if the fruit loss in the production is taken as 10%, the total papaya production per hectare would reduce to 24494 Kg. Henceforth, if this amount of papaya fruits sold at Rs 20 per Kg. It will amount to Rs 489880. Therefore, the profit margin in papaya farming as per the above scenario, is above 50%.
Seeing the above sample stats for one acre of agricultural land, it can be said that papaya farming in India has high potential and is marginally profitable.
Note: The above scenario excludes transport, post-harvesting charges, and other miscellaneous charges.
Steps to maximise profits in papaya farming
As we have acknowledged in the previous discussion that papaya farming is known for its high profitability. Also, we learned that the more papaya production per hectare of agricultural land, the greater the profit per acre. Henceforth, in this section of a discussion on papaya farming, we will discuss the ways to increase papaya production per acre of agricultural land.
1. Weather requirements: Striking when the iron is hot
Factually speaking, papaya cultivation can be carried out in almost all states in India except a few regions. However, it’s another fact that papaya cultivation is exceptionally high in some parts of the country due to extremely favourable climatic conditions. The tropical fruit prefers a warm climate and slightly above-average water for its ideal growth. The soil kept approximately in dry conditions so as to avoid root and other fungal infections.
2. Ensuring the propagation health of seeds
Papaya farming majorly done through the propagation of the fruit’s seeds. For a healthier propagation of seeds, it is advisable to stock papaya seeds ideally 8-9 months before the monsoon period. In addition to the above facts, a simple rule is followed while collecting seeds and ensuring healthier seed propagation. The principle states the healthier the mother plant and fruit, the healthier the seeds will be. In short, bigger fruits are sometimes indicators of healthy plants and fruit.
The chances of getting male and female plants in your nursery are quite high. However, if you have chosen the upper part of the papaya plant for taking seeds, the chances of getting male plants are higher. Furthermore, avoiding light and very dark-coloured seeds while seeding considered a wise step in papaya cultivation. In addition to this, ensuring a ripe fruit and shading it dry for at least 3 days marks the start of healthy seed propagation. This step ensures the jelly part covering the seeds dries out and wrinkle.
After the above steps come the germination part, a papaya seed, after being subjected to the germination procedure, takes about 2 weeks for germination. After a significant amount of growth (say about 3 inches tall), removing the weak plants considered a pro step in the papaya farming business.
3. Replantation of papaya saplings
The expert papaya cultivators say that after germination and a recognisable growth of 3 inches, you need to move the saplings into a jute grow bag. It advised to avoid direct ground plantation as the papaya saplings are too weak to handle weather conditions at the time of planting. Furthermore, expert papaya farmers say that they leave papaya plants for 2 months in the growth bag. Furthermore, record the growth up to 10-12 Cm in height. At the time when the papaya plant covers such growth height, advised to replant your papaya sapling into the ground.
4. Preparation of soil for papaya cultivation
Ideally speaking, clay soil is not as good as sandy loam soil with no water retention. Furthermore, alluvial soil with no water retention property also a recommended soil type. Furthermore, speaking about the pH level of soil, it recommended to prefer a range between 5.5-6.5 on the pH scale.
It also recommended to keep the soil slightly raised above the normal ground engulfed in loose soil (say 2-3 inches of height). The complete cultivated area mulched with sheets. Weeding required until the plant attains a required height of 2 feet. The ideal spacing between the plant is 6-7 feet, allowing small tillers to tilt the land between the plants for better water absorption.
Also read: Use cultivators in soil profiling and land preparation.
5. Irrigation and pest control in papaya farming
In papaya farming, water discreetly needed and in small amounts. In this case, providing water just to keep the soil wet is a wiser step to consider. Watering the plant for more than the average requirement will shoot the plant’s height abnormally high. This makes the papaya plant prone to strong winds, and the risk of breaking increases. Experts say that in the first four to five months, there should be minimal watering with a slow periodic increment in the amount of water used for irrigation.
In addition to the above facts, an adult papaya plant requires about 6-8 litres of water per day with drip irrigation and around 16 L using normal watering techniques. Furthermore, it advised to ensure average watering during the flowering season and above-average watering during the fruiting season.
Pro Tip: The use of drip irrigation watering technique is advised in commercial papaya farming. This saves a lot of watering costs, thus adding to the overall profitability of your papaya farm.
As per agricultural scientists, spider mites, nematodes, and fruit flies are the most common pests in papaya cultivation. Additionally, spider mites controlled by pesticides Phosphamidon (not more than 0.05%) or Methyl Parathion (not more than 0.04%). Furthermore, nematodes controlled using pesticides carbofuran (in the amount of 2 Kg per hectare) or neem cake. The fruit flies avoided using Dimethoate (not more than 0.1%).
Therefore, in the above five steps, papaya cultivators can maximise production per acre of agricultural land. Henceforth increasing the overall yield and profit from the same.
States in India already involved in papaya farming
As already mentioned in this blog, India is a leading producer of papaya fruits worldwide. Although papaya cultivation is discretely a contribution of almost all the states in India, few of the states in India have made a remarkable contribution to papaya cultivation and production in the country. The states are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, Karnataka, Assam, Kerala, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh leads papaya cultivation with a 28% contribution (accounting for approx. 1687000 Metric tonnes per year). The state of Gujarat is only behind Andhra Pradesh which produces a lump sump of 1256000 metric tonnes of papaya per year.
Related: Top 10 agricultural crop-producing states in India.
The unwrapped truth
This blog is a comprehensive guide for beginners and experienced in papaya farming. The report divided into three sections. The first section is about papaya farming and its profitability. Furthermore, we discussed the major ways to increase papaya production and thus increase profitability in the papaya farming business.
The add-on section of the blog discussed various states involved in the papaya farming business in India. We conclude the discussion by saying that papaya cultivation is a very profitable business in India. Furthermore, the business has a broad scope in the market as India leads production worldwide. What are your thoughts on it?