Papaya (Carica papaya) is a tropical fruit having commercial importance because of its high nutritive and medicinal value. India leads the world in papaya production with an annual output of about 3 million tonnes.
Soil and climate:
It is a tropical fruit and grows well in regions where summer temperature ranges from 35°C - 38°C. Well drained soils of uniform texture are highly preferable to avoid the collar rot disease.
500 g of seeds is required for planting one ha. June-September is the best season for planting. Avoid planting in rainy season.
Irrigate copiously after planting. Irrigate the field once in a week. Protective irrigation is provided in the first year of planting. During the second year, irrigation is provided at fortnightly interval in winter and at an interval of 10 days in summer. Basin system of irrigation is mostly followed.
Apply 10 litres of water per day + 13.5 g urea and 10.5 g muriate of potash/ week through drip irrigation and soil application of super phosphate 300g per plant at bimonthly intervals starting from 3-4 months after planting immediately after thinning of plants is recommended.
To control the nematode infestation in nursery, apply Carbofuran 3 G @ 1 g/polythene bag after germination.
Papaya is planted during spring (February-March), monsoon (June-July) and autumn (October-November). A spacing of 1.8 x 1.8 m. is normally followed. However higher density cultivation with spacing of 1.5 x 1.5 m. /ha enhances the returns to the farmer and is recommended. Papaya is commercially propagated by seed and tissue culture plants. The seed rate is 250-300 g. /ha.
Use of fertilizers:
Apply FYM 10 Kg/plant as basal and 50 g in each of N, P and K per plant at bi-monthly intervals from the third month of planting after removing unwanted sex forms. Apply 20 g in each of Azospirillum and Phosphobacterium at planting again six months after planting.
The method of extraction of papain from papaya fruits is simple. The latex should be tapped from immature papaya fruits. Select 75 to 90 days old fruits. On the selected fruit, give incisions (cut) with a razor blade or stainless steel knife. The cuts should be given from stalk to tip of the fruit. The depth of the cut should not be more than 0.3 cm. Four such cuts are given spaced equally on the fruit surface.
Tap the latex early in the morning and complete the tapping before 10.00 a.m. Repeat the tapping four times on the same fruit at an interval of three days. The cut should be given on the fruit surface in places not covered by previous cuts. The latex collected from all the trees in a day should be pooled, shade dried in an aluminium pan or tray and passed through a 50 mesh sieve to remove all foreign matter.