Papaya is one of the important quick growing fruit crops. It is a very rich source of vitamin ‘A’ and an excellent source of vitamin ‘C’ and minerals and compares favorably with oranges. On an average 100g of edible portion of ripe papaya contains 2500 I.U. of vit. A and 70 mg of ascorbic acid. It improves digestion and is said to cure chronic constipation, piles and enlarged liver and spleen. Papain is a valuable enzyme prepared from the latex of papaya. The total area under papaya in Andhra Pradesh is about 14.9 thousand hectares with estimated annual production of 11.96 lakh tons.
Scientific name-Carica papaya.
Soil requirement for Papaya
Papaya requires well drained fertile soils of uniform texture. Underwater stagnated conditions, and in soils with poor drainage, foot rot disease may cause substantial mortality. Hence heavy clay soils should be avoided. A loamy soil with a pH 6.5 to 7.2 is considered an idea.
Climate required for Papaya
It’s a tropical fruit crop grows well in regions where summer temperature does not exceed 38oC.
High Yielding Varieties of Papaya
Plant dwarf. Fruit round or oval in shape with golden yellow skin and orange colored flesh.
The plant is medium tall. Fruits obovate and large, skin yellowish-green, flesh orange colored, soft and moderately juicy. It is a good table fruit and also a high yielding variety.
The plant is medium tall. Fruit large, flesh deep yellow with the purple tinge, taste sweet, good keeping quality.
It is a selection from Washington variety, cultivated mainly for papain production. It yields 1,500-1,600 kg/ha of dried papain.
A selection from Pusa Majesty, it is dioecious having dwarf stature. It produces large sized fruits. It is recommended both for papain and desert purposes.
Plants are very vigorous, the stem has purple rings at the nodes, petiole dark purple, flowers deep yellow, fruits large, ovate in shape and in large numbers, seeds few, pulp sweet with an agreeable flavor. The fruit is very attractive.
3. Pusa Dwarf
The plant is dwarf and precocious in bearing. The plants start taking from 25 to 30 cm above ground level. The fruit size is medium and oval in shape. This variety is most suitable for high-density orcharding, nutrition garden, and kitchen garden.
Tree of medium height, bears fruit, low on the trunk and heavily, fruits are elongated, the pulp is sweet and has very agreeable flavor, and seeds are very few in number. This variety is popular all over India. It is also called Madhu Bindhu.
5. Pusa Nanha
An extremely dwarf variety, it is suitable for kitchen gardens, pot and roof-top cultivation. This is ideal for high-density orcharding.
6. Pusa Giant
This is a vigorous variety and is dioecious in nature. The plants are sturdy and tolerant to high winds. The fruits are suitable for tooty-fruity and candies like petha.
Plant is tall and vigorous. Fruit is medium sized, sweet with good keeping quality.
8. Red lady (Taiwan 786)
This is also gynodioecious variety with bold red colored flesh and good taste.
This is one of the best-known varieties from Hawal. Fruits are small. Deeply ribbed, pyriform, flesh yellow-orange, keeping the quality right.
10. Coorg Honey Dew
This is a selection from Honey Dew variety. This variety produces hermaphrodite and female plants. Fruits borne on female plants are almost seedless. The fruits are of excellent quality.
11. Sunrise Sole
This is a gynodioecious variety having pink flesh and good taste.
12. Pusa Delicious
It is a gynodioecious variety with 100% productive plants with good fruit yield and quality having excellent taste and good flavor.
13. Pusa Majesty
This is a gynodioecious variety with high productivity and better keeping quality of fruits. This is also one of the highest papain yielders.
Use 500 g seeds for planting one ha of dioecious papaya, for gynodioecious varieties 50-60 g of seed is required. Raise seedlings in polybags of size not less than 10 x 20 cm filled with a potting mixture made of 2 parts of sand, 1 part each of red soil and well-decomposed FYM.
Papaya plant nursery
Prepare raised seedbeds of 2m in length, 1m in breadth and 10 cm heights. Apply 10-15 kg of FYM and ½ kg of 15:15:15 mixes it well the soil.
Drench the beds with ceresin wet (2g in 1 lit of water) solution. Sow freshly extracted seeds at a depth of 2-3 cm in rows, with a spacing of 5 cm in the rows and about 15 cm between rows. Sowing of seeds during March to April is desirable to facilitate plant in June-July. About 250 g. of seed is enough to raise sufficient seedlings for a hectare. Provide watering regularly during summer.
In about three weeks time the seeds germinate. In another two months, when the seedlings attain a height of 15-20 cm they are ready for transplanting. Remove the seedlings with a ball of earth and transplant them in the main field. Papaya seedlings raised in seedbeds. Use perforated polyethylene bags of 20 x 15 cm size with 150 gauge thickness for raising seedlings. Fill the bags with a mixture of manure, soil, and sand in equal proportions. Sow two seeds in each bag and retain only one seedling after germination.
Prepare the land by plowing and harrowing. Dig pits of 40 x 40 x 40 cm cube and fill them with topsoil and compost. Plant the seedlings in the center of the pit and provide support. Planting can be done both in rainy season and winter season. In areas where rainfall is heavy, winter planting is preferable. In regions with moderate rainfall, planting can be done in both the seasons.
Seedlings will be ready for transplanting when they are 45-60 days or when the seedlings attain 30-45 cm height. Papaya can be planted throughout the year. However, the best time for planting is after the end of the monsoon.
Papaya is normally planted at a distance of 1.8 X 1.8m. In the pits of 45 cm3 size which are filled with decomposed FYM and top soil in 1:1 ration. The seedlings should be watered preferably twice a day till they are established.
Papaya fertilizers management
Before planting, for each pit 10Kg. Of well-decomposed FYM should be applied. The following fertilizers may be applied per plant at bi-monthly interval starting from the 3rd month of planting.
To correct micronutrient deficiencies, spray 5g. Zinc Sulphate + 2g. Magnesium Sulphate + 2g. Manganese Sulphate + 2g. Ferrous Sulphate + 2g. Borax + 6g. Calcium Carbonate + 10g. Urea in one liter of water at 3-4 months age.
Intercrop for Papaya
When papaya is grown as a pure crop, vegetables can be profitably grown as intercrops for about six months from the planting of papaya seedlings.
Irrigation and water management for Papaya plant
Depending upon the climate, young papaya seedlings should be irrigated once or twice a week in irrigated orchards whereas, in older trees bearing fruits, irrigation is given every 10-14 days.
Papaya plants are irrigated 10-12 days interval in winter and weekly once in summer if there are no rains. Plants also perform well under drip irrigation when supplied with 20-25 1/day for bearing plants.
Papaya plants come to harvest 5-6 months after planting. The fruits can be harvested when they are still hard and green but turn slightly yellow.
Yield for Papaya per acre
Papaya fruits will be ready for harvest about 9-10 months after planting. Fruits are borne throughout the year. Yield varies from 75 to 100 tons per hectare. The economic life of papaya plant is only 2 ½ to 3 years.
The whole fruit pulp is used for the preparation of mixed fruit jam, and immature fruit pulp bits are used for making ‘tooty-fruity.’
Papaya fruits, which are about 90-100 days old (fully grown but not mature) are selected for tapping. In the morning hours before 10.00 am four longitudinal incisions are given on the four sides of the selected fruit from the stalk end to the tip. The depth of the incision should be about 3mm.On incising, the latex starts flowing, and this is collected in suitable containers (areca nut spathes, aluminum trays or glass vessels). Care should be taken not to use any other container for papain collection since it will react with papain rendering it unfit for any use. The latex that solidifies in the cuts should also be scraped carefully and added to the liquid latex.
This process to making four incisions in the untapped fruit surface at 3-4 days interval is repeated thrice of four times over a period of 12 to 16 days. The latex thus collected every time should be dried in the sun or driers at temperatures ranging between 50OC to 55OC. Potassium metabisulphite (0.05%) is added to the liquid latex in small quantities before it is dried since this helps to extend the storage of papain. The drying of papain is continued until it comes off in flakes having a porous structure. The dried papain is powdered, sieved through a ten mesh sieve and stored in polythene bags or any other suitable container. After papain extraction fruits can also be used for consumption.
Papaya pests and its control
1. Fruit fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae, Tozotrypana curvicauda)
The fruit flies damage ripe fruits of papaya. Maggots feed in the fruit pulp, causing rotting.
Using of Methyl eugenol traps is effective in controlling fruit flies. If the problem is serious, spray Deltamethrin 0.003% or Dimethoate 0.045% when fruits are fully mature. Do not retain birds’ damaged fruits on trees because they attract fruit flies for oviposition. Collect all fallen infested fruits and destroyed.
2. Aphids (Aphis gossypii, Myzus persicia)
Nymphs and adult aphids suck sap from leaves, and while doing so, they transmit mosaic virus disease. The affected trees die gradually.
Destroy virus affected plants. Give prophylactic sprays of Dimethoate 0.3% or Methyl Demeton 0.05%.
3. Nematodes (Meloidogyne spp., Rotylenchulus reniformis)
Leaf yellowing and shedding, reduction in leaf numbers. Premature dropping of fruits, root galling. Causes decline and reduction in yield.
Nematodes can be controlled by application of Carbofuran @ 15-20 g/plant, Neem cake @ 250g per plant.
Papaya diseases and its control
1. Collar rot/Foot rot and wilt (Madima Kullu Tegulu) (Pythium aphanidermatum)
The disease occurs both in the nursery and in the main field. The fungus attacks the collar region and causes soft rot. Externally the leaves turn yellow and drop off. The plant may collapse with a breakdown at the bottom. The disease will be severe in ill-drained conditions.
Bordeaux mixture (1:1) or Metalaxyl + Mancozeb @ 2g/l or 3g. of Cooper oxychloride dissolved in 1 lit. of water may be used to drench the nursery bags to protect against wilting of young seedlings and also the main field. Water stagnation should be avoided.
2. Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)
Dark brown depressed spots of chocolate color.
Good control of Anthracnose can be achieved by spraying Mancozeb @ 2.5 g/lit. Or Carbendazim @ 1g/lit.
3. Powdery mildew (Budida Tegulu) (Oidium caricae)
Whitish patches appear on the lower surface of leaves. The corresponding upper surface appears yellow. The patches coalesce and spread to the leaf blade. The affected leaves turn yellow and dry up. If young fruits are attacked, they do not develop further and shrivel and drop off prematurely.
It can be controlled effectively by spraying Wettable sulfur @ 3g/lit or Kerathane @ 1ml/lit.
Viral diseases found in most of the regions of Papaya cultivation
Three major viral diseases namely mosaic, leaf curl, and ringspot are commonly found in most of the regions of papaya cultivation. The plants must be watched carefully for the viral symptoms and removed and destroyed as soon as the symptoms appear. The virus is usually transmitted by aphids, and white flies and these vectors should be controlled by spraying systemic insecticides viz Imidachloprid @ 0.3 ml/lit. or Dimethoate @ 2 ml/lit or Acephate @ 1.5g/lit.
1. Leaf Curl (Aku Melika Tegulu) (Virus nicotiane virus 10) (Transmitted by whitefly)
The disease characterized by severe curling, crinkling and deformation of the leaves. Mostly the young leaves are affected, other symptoms like vein clearing, reduced size inward rolling of the leaves and thickening of leaves are also common. Sometimes the petioles are twisted. The diseased leaves become thick and brittle. The plants are very much stunted. Fruit yield is much reduced and defoliation often results.
Removal of infected plants, plants can be sprayed with 0.1% Malathion or Metasystox at an interval of 10-15 days for controlling the vectors.
2. Papaya Mosaic (Boppai Verri Tegulu)
The disease occurs on papaya plants of all age groups but more severe on young plants. The top young leaves of the diseased plant are much reduced in size and show blister patches of dark green tissue alternating with yellowish green and puckering. The leaf petiole is reduced in length, and top leaves assume an upright position. The fruits on diseased plants develop circular water-soaked lesions with a central solid spot. The fruits are elongated and reduced in size.
Removal of infected plants and destroying them. Controlling aphids, vectors by periodical spraying of systemic insecticides.
3. Ring Spot (Transmitted by aphids)
Infected plants initially show chlorosis on the youngest leaves followed by vein clearing, rugosity and prominent mottling of the laminae. Decided malformation and reduction of the laminae which may become extremely filiform. Characteristically elongated dark green streaks develop on petioles and the upper half of the stem, infected fruits show circular or concentric rings, causing up to 50-60% losses in yield.
Rogue infected plants and control aphid vectors.
- Dr. Y.S.R. Horticulture University, Andhra Pradesh.