Papaya farming and its management.


Papaya (Carica papaya)is a tropical fruit having commercial importance because of its high nutritive and medicinal value. Papaya cultivation had its origin in South Mexico and Costa Rica. Total annual world production is estimated at 6 million tonnes of fruits. India leads the world in papaya production with an annual output of about 3 million tonnes. Other leading producers are Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, Peru, Thailand and Philippine

The area under papaya cultivation in India increased by 63% from 45.2 thousand ha. in 1991-92 to 73.7 thousand ha. in 2001-02 and the production increased from 8 lakh tones to 26 lakh tones. Papaya is mostly cultivated in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. 

State-wise Area, Production & Productivity of

Papaya during 2001-02

StateArea (‘000 Ha.)Production (‘000 MT)Productivity (MT/Ha.)
Andhra Pradesh11.71173.6100.0
West Bengal7.2241.933.5
Madhya Pradesh0.839.249.0

Source : Database of National Horticulture Board, Ministry of Agriculture ,

Govt. of India.

Economic Importance

Fruit is a rich source of vitamin A and C. It has a high nutritive and medicinal value. Papain prepared from dried latex of its immature fruits is used in meat tenderizing, manufacture of chewing gum, cosmetics, for degumming natural silk and to give shrink resistance to wool. It is also used in pharmaceutical industries, textile and garment cleaning paper and adhesive manufacture, sewage disposal etc.

Agro-climatic requirements

Papaya being a tropical fruit grows well in the mild sub-tropical regions of the country upto 1,000 m. above sea level. Night temperature below 120-140 C for several hours during winter season affects its growth and production severely. It is very much sensitive to frost, strong winds and water stagnation.

Deep, well drained sandy loam soil is ideal for cultivation of papaya.

Growing and Potential Belts

The state-wise growing belts are given in the following :

StateGrowing belts
Andhra PradeshCuddapah, Medak, Kurnool, Rangareddy
AssamNagaon, Darrang, Karbi Anglong
GujaratKheda, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar
JharkhandSimdega, Ranchi, Lohardaga, Hazaribagh, Chatra
KarnatakaBellary, Bidar, Bangalore (R& U), Mandya, Shimoga, Chitradurga, Mysore, Belgaum, Hassan
MaharashtraSangli, Satara, Pune, Nasik, Sholapur, Nagpur, Amravati
Madhya PradeshDhar, Khandwa, Bilaspur, Ratlam, Guna
West BengalNorth & South 24- Parganas, Hooghly, Nadia, Midnapur

 Varieties Cultivated

Important papaya varieties cultivated in different states of India are given below :

State Varieties grown
Andhra PradeshHoney Dew, Coorg Honey Dew, Washington, Solo, Co-1,Co-2, Co-3, Sunrise Solo, Taiwan
JharkhandRanchi selection, Honey Dew, Pusa Delicious & Pusa Nanha
Karnataka & KeralaCoorg Honey Dew, Coorg Green, Pusa Delicious & Pusa Nanha
West BengalRanchi selection, Honey Dew, Washington, Coorg Green
OrissaPusa Delicious, Pusa Nanha,  Ranchi selection, Honey Dew, Washington, Coorg Green

Varaities of Papaya

Honey dew:
It is dioecious with less percentage of male plant and breeds true to the type from seed, semi tall variety – (dwarf ), bare fruits low on the trunk heavily. Interestingly, this variety is popular all over India, and is also called as Madhu Bindu.

Sunrise solo:
It is named as ‘solo’ as one man can easily consume one fruit. This variety is from Hawaii with small sized fruits, pyriform and yellowish orange pulp. Its keeping quality is also good.

Coorg honey dew:
The variety produces no male plants. Its plants are either hermaphrodite or female. Fruits borne on female plants are almost seedless and are of excellent quality.
These plants are vigorous, stem and leaf stalks are with purple ting, fruits medium to large, round to ovate, sweet, pulp orange color with good flavor.

Land Preparation

A well-drained upland is selected for cultivation. In open and high lying areas plants are exposed to strong winds or storm. Therefore, for proper establishment of papaya plantation, suitable wind break should be planted at the orchard boundary.


Planting Material

Papaya is commercially propagated by seed and tissue culture plants. The seed rate is 250-300 g./ha. The seedlings can be raised in nursery beds 3m. long, 1m. wide and 10 cm. high as well as in pots or polythene bags. The seeds after being treated with 0.1% Monosan (phenyl mercuric acetate), ceresan etc. are sown 1 cm. deep in rows 10 cm. apart and covered with fine compost or leaf mould. Light irrigation is provided during the morning hours. The nursery beds are covered with polythene sheets or dry paddy straw to protect the seedlings. About 15-20 cm. tall seedlings are chosen for planting in about two months. 

Planting season

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.

High Density Planting : A closer spacing of 1.2 x 1.2 m. for cv. Pusha Nanha is adopted for high density planting, accommodating 6,400 plants/ha.

Planting Method

The seedlings are planted in pits of 60x60x60 cm. size. In the summer months the pits are dug about a fortnight before planting. The pits are filled with top soil along with 20 kg. of farmyard manure., 1 kg. neem cake and 1 kg. bone meal. Tall and vigorous varieties are planted at greater spacing while medium and dwarf ones at closer spacing.


Papaya plant needs heavy doses of manures and fertilizers. Apart from the basal dose of manures (@ 10 kg./plant) applied in the pits, 200-250 g. each of N, P2O5 and K2O are recommended for getting high yield. Application of 200 g. N is optimum for fruit yield but papain yield increases with increase in N upto 300 g.


Micro-nutrients viz. ZnSO4 (0.5%) and H2 BO3 (0.1%) are sprayed in order to increase growth and yield characters.


The irrigation schedule is fixed on the basis of soil type and weather conditions of the region. 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. In areas having low rainfall, sprinkler or drip system can be adopted.

Intercultural Operations

Deep hoeing is recommended during the first year to check weed growth. Weeding should be done on regular basis especially around the plants. Application of Fluchloralin or Alachlorin or Butachlorine (2.0 g./ha.) as pre-emergence herbicide two months after transplanting can effectively control the weeds for a period of four months. Earthing up is done before or after the onset of monsoon to avoid water-logging and also to help the plants to stand erect.


Intercropping leguminous crops after non-leguminous ones, shallow rooted crops after deep rooted ones are beneficial. No intercrops are taken after the onset of flowering stage.

Removal of male plants

About 10% of the male plants are kept in the orchards for good pollination where dioecious varieties are cultivated. As soon as the plants flower, the extra male plants are uprooted.

Manuring  and Fertilizers in Papaya Farming

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.

  Plant Protection Measures

Insect Pests

The insect pests mostly observed are fruit flies (Bactrocera cucurbitae), ak grasshopper (Poekilocerus pictus), aphids (Aphis gossypii), red spider mite (Tetranychus cinnabarinus), stem borer (Dasyses rugosellus) and grey weevil (Myllocerus viridans). In all cases the infected parts need to be destroyed along with application of prophylactic sprays of Dimethoate (0.3%) or methyl demeton (0.05%).


The main diseases reported are powdery mildew (Oidium caricae), anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides), damping off and stem rot. Application of wettable sulphur (1 g./l.) carbendazim/thiophanate methyl (1 g./l.) and Kavach/Mancozeb (2 g./l.) has been found to be effective in controlling the diseases.

Harvesting  and Yield

Fruits are harvested when they are of full size, light green in colour with tinge of yellow at apical end. On ripening, fruits of certain varieties turn yellow while some of them remain green. When the latex ceases to be milky and become watery, the fruits are suitable for harvesting.

The economic life of papaya plant is only 3 to 4 years.  The yield varies widely according to variety, soil, climate and management of the orchard. The yield of 75-100 tonnes /ha. is obtained in a season from a papaya orchard depending on spacing and cultural practices.



Fruits are graded on the basis of their weight, size and colour.


Fruits are highly perishable in nature. They can be stored for a period of 1-3 weeks at a temperature of 10-130 C and 85-90% relative humidity.


Bamboo baskets with banana leaves as lining material are used for carrying the produce from farm to local market.


Road transport by trucks/lorries is the most convenient mode of transport due to easy approach from orchards to the market.


The farmers usually dispose off their produce to the wholesalers and middlemen at the farm gate

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