Papaya sap fetches profit; farming expanded to 250 acres in Kerala
Thrissur: After the papaya sap got huge demand in the market, papaya farming in Kerala has been expanded to over 250 acres of land across 8 districts. A company of papaya farmers will soon be set up in Malappuram. The Swadeshi Science Movement campaigned for papaya farming.
Papaya cultivation is encouraged as part of the Innovation-science and Technology based Entrepreneurship Development (I-STED) project of the Ministry of Science and Technology. Currently, papaya farming is widely practised in Kasaragod, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad, Thrissur, Idukki and Kollam districts.
The sap called Papain tapped from raw papaya is the source of income for the farmers. Papain is used to make Ayurveda and Allopathy medicines for digestive disorders and dengue fever. The farmers get a subsidy of Rs 30,000 per acre for cultivating papaya.
Papaya farming continues for about 2 years and profit can be earned from the 6th month. Tapping can be started as soon as the papaya weighs 500 grams. First, the peel of papaya is grooved 2 millimetres and the sap is collected in a rubber sheet spread beneath it. Later, the sap from all sheets will be transferred to a can.
Tapping should be complete before sunlight intensifies. Upto 800 saplings of papaya can be planted in one acre. One papaya can be tapped upto 4 times. After collecting the saplings, the ripe fruits can be used to make value added products like juice, jam, sauce and squash.
A Coimbatore based company 'Senthil' is procuring papaya sap from the farmers in Kerala. They pay Rs 135 per kilogram, if total soluble solids (TSS), the quality measurement indicator, is 15 units. For every extra point in the unit, they pay an additional Rs 9.
Rs 5 lakh can be earned by growing papaya in one acre land for 2.5 years. The estimate cost for this is Rs 2 lakh. The farmers pointed out that papaya farming is not included in crop insurance project of the state agricultural department. The Swadeshi Science Movement provides assistance to start farming and also helps with tapping the sap.
Puranattukara Sreeramakrishna Ashram managed to cultivate 600 papaya saplings in completely organic method. First tapping was inaugurated by Swami Sadbhavananda. I-STED Kerala project director A Gopalakrishnan Nair, project coordinator Anjali Annie George, district field officer Alija Joseph and others were present.