Date:12/10/2006 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/seta/2006/10/12/stories/2006101200831600.htm
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More yield with Surya papaya variety

M.J. PRABU

About thirteen tonnes of fruits can be harvested per hectare

— Photo: IIHR

SWEET TASTE: The fruits are round and medium in size.

PAPAYA, WHICH has traditionally been mainly cultivated as a backyard crop, has become an important commercial crop.

In India, papaya is cultivated on a commercial scale in Karnataka, Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh.

Papaya is called Pappali in Tamil, Papeeta in Hindi, Omakai in Malayalam, Pharangi in Kannada and Boppayi pandu in Telugu.

Digestive disorders

The ripe fruits are used for table purpose and the raw ones as vegetables. Immature fruits are used for the extraction of papain, which is mainly used in the manufacture of medicines for digestive disorders.

Papaya requires a warm and humid climate for its growth. The crop is highly sensitive to frost and grows well in medium black to red loamy soils.

It is highly susceptible to water logging as the roots get damaged due to water stagnation.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bangalore have developed a new variety called Surya, which is ideal for growing in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The fruits of this variety are round, medium in size, weighing 600-800 gm.

Shelf life

The flesh is red in colour, firm and has a sweet taste. Once harvested, the fruits have a shelf life of about six days. The variety is generally propagated by seeds. Papaya seeds loose viability very fast if stored at room temperature or sun dried.

Treating the seeds with 0.1 per cent Gibberlic acid for eight hours before sowing enhances germination.

Seeds are sown in polythene bags first and the seedlings are transplanted to the main field later.

The bags should be filled with farmyard manure (FYM), red soil and sand. Generally two seeds are sown in each bag. The ideal time for raising the seedlings is between June and October. About 60gms of seeds are required for a hectare. The seeds germinate in 2-3 weeks' time depending on the temperature.

Generally 45 to 60 day-old seedlings are preferred for transplanting to the main field.

Seedlings older than 60 days are avoided as their roots get damaged while transplanting. Irrigation is linked to the soil condition. Water logging should be avoided as this variety is susceptible to root rotting, according to the researchers.

In the main field, cubical pits of about 45 cm{+3} are dug at a spacing of 1.8 mts between individual pits.

Fertilizer application

The pits are filled with red earth and FYM and one plant per pit is planted.

Generally 90gms of urea, 250gms of super phosphate and 140gms of muriate of potash per plant are recommended. The fertilizers should be applied once every two months.

Surya is susceptible to anthracnose, powdery mildew, root rot and ringspot virus, which can be effectively controlled by proper management practices.

Yield data

The variety comes to harvest in 9 to 10 months after transplanting and yields 50-60 kg of fruits per tree per season. About 13 tonnes of fruits can be harvested per hectare.

The fruits are harvested when they exhibit streaks of yellow colouration. As the trees are not very tall, the fruits can be hand picked.

The economical yield in papaya is for a period of three years. Although the tree continues to yield after that, it is not economical to maintain it after three years.

For more information readers can contact the Director, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hessarghatta Lake Post, Bangalore, phone:080- 28466420 and 28466421 ext: 227, email: fruits@iihr.ernet.in

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