The Hidden Treasure in Pawpaw Farming

By Soko Directory Team / Published June 14, 2018 | 7:29 am





Papaya/Pawpaw is a perennial fruit tree widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates for its nutritive and medicinal values. In Kenya, it is very popular and it’s grown for both local and export markets.

Pawpaw has a number of benefits, one of them being used as a favorite breakfast and dessert fruit that is available year-round. It can also be used to make fruit salads, refreshing drinks, jam, jelly, marmalade, candies and crystallized fruits. Green fruits can as well be pickled or cooked as a vegetable

The plant is usually susceptible to toppling during high winds.

The fruit comes in different varieties and one of the reasons why some farmers have not been successful in pawpaw farming in Kenya is because they have not chosen the right variety for their area and kind of climate.

There are many varieties of the pawpaw crop today. In this guide, we will discuss only the main ones available today.

The most common pawpaw varieties grown in Kenya include:

  1. Solo– produces small round sweet fruits with uniform sizes and shape. It’s hermaphroditic and popular for both local and export markets.
  2. Vega F1– produces medium-sized fruits with an attractive red flesh. Fruits are firm and sweet, weighing 1-1.2 kilograms.
  3. Sunrise– produces smooth pear-shaped fruits of high quality, weighing about 400-650 grams. The flesh of fruits is reddish orange and the variety is high yielding.
  4. Mountain– produces small fruits only suitable for preserves and jam.
  5. Red royale F1– this is an improved breed that gives good quality fruits weighing 1.7-2.3 kilograms which have red attractive color and are very sweet.
  6. Sinta F1– female fruits are round while hermaphrodite fruits are oblong with an average weight of 2 kilograms. Flesh is deep yellow, firm and sweet.

Papaya thrives in warm areas with adequate rainfall and a temperature range of 21-33°C. Its altitude range is similar to that of the banana, from sea level to elevations at which frosts occur (often around 1600 m). However, they grow best in areas below 1000 m.

The quality and yield are low at higher altitudes. Frost can kill the plant, and cool and overcast weather delays fruit ripening and depresses fruit quality. Fruit tastes much better when grown during a warm sunny season. Evenly distributed annual rainfall of 1200 mm is sufficient if water conservation practices are employed.

Papaya grows best in light, well-drained soils rich in organic matter with soil pH of 6.0-6.5. It can tolerate any kind of soil provided it is well-drained and not too dry. The roots are very sensitive to waterlogging and even short periods of flooding can kill the plants.

Papaya is propagated by seed. To reproduce the desired characteristics, it is best to get seeds through controlled pollination. Use of sterilized soil minimizes losses resulting from nematodes and damping-off fungi. Germination takes 2-3 weeks.

Papaya plants grown from seed produce fruits of different shapes, sizes, color and even taste. Vegetative propagation of papaya provides a solution to most of these problems. The clone is selected for higher productivity and good quality fruits besides agronomic qualities such as dwarfness for easy harvesting and good resistance to diseases.

The farmer can choose to grow the crops conventionally or do organic farming.

Papaya grows best when planted in full sunlight. However, it can be planted as an inter-crop under coconut, or as a cash crop between young fruit trees such as mango or citrus. Low growing annual crops such as capsicums, beans, onions, and cabbages are suitable good intercrops.

The stage of physiological development at the time of harvest determines the flavor and taste of the ripened fruit.

The fruit matures at 9 months after transplanting. The appearance of traces of yellow color on the fruit indicates that it is ready for harvesting. Fruits harvested early have longer post-harvest life, but give abnormal taste and flavor.

The fruits also tend to shrivel and suffer chilling injuries when refrigerated. The fruit is twisted until the stalk snaps off or cut with a sharp knife. Yields per tree vary from 75 to 150 fruits annually, giving 35 to 50 tons of fruit per ha per year.

A papaya plantation can be productive for over 10 years but the economic period is only the first 3 to 4 years. It is therefore advisable to renew the plantation every 4 years.




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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