Botanical Name: Carica papaya (L.)
Suitable varieties: Solo Sunrise (preferred by the domestic market), Golden Caliman (export variety)
Source of Planting Material: Reputable seed dealers, Product Associations.
Areas suitable for Production: Papaya thrives in well-drained soils rich in organic matter with pH range of 5 to 7, temperature between 20-36oC, and rainfall between 1200 to 2000 mm/year (150 to 200 mm/month). The crop can be grown commercially in parts of the Central, Eastern, Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti and Volta Regions.
Windbreak: Papaya trees are very sensitive to strong winds; to prevent breakage, establish windbreaks before transplanting.
Land Preparation: A thorough land preparation is necessary for early crop establishment and adequate weed control. Slash, remove stumps and stones where necessary, and clear debris. Double plough, harrow and/or rotovate field to a fine tilth where necessary, line and peg.
Nursery Practices: Seedlings are best raised in 12cm x 20cm black poly bags.
Soil Media: Media for nursery can either be purchased or locally prepared. To prepare media, scrape away the topsoil, dig out sub-soil and moisten. Spread sawdust/rice husk on the sub-soil and burn slowly to sterilize. Leave to cool for 24hrs. Mix one part sub-soil with one part well decomposed manure.
Sowing: Soak seeds 48 hours to break dormancy. Stir and change water at least 2 times discarding non-viable floating seeds. Air dry seeds for 6hrs and keep in clean absorbent cloth for 3-4 days in a warm dark place for seeds to sprout before sowing. Make drainage holes in poly bags, and fill with media. Evenly sow 4-6 sprouted seeds at a depth of 1cm and cover with about 1cm of soil and firm. Water copiously. Arrange poly bags under shades. Cover with transparent polythene sheets. Remove sheets immediately after emergency (3-4 days). Apply 5g Mono Ammonium Phosphate (MAP) per liter of water on seedlings three weeks after emergence.
Harden seeds by gradually reducing shade and exposing them to sun before transplanting. Thin out to 3 seedlings/ bag before transplanting.
Planting out: Transplanting seedlings at a space of 1.8m x 2m (about 2,800 plts/ha) or 2m x 2.5m (about 2000 plts/ha) 4-6 weeks after emergence.
Thinning out: Thin out to one plant per stand after the first flush of flowers appears, selecting only sturdy plants with hermaphrodite flowers.
Weed control: Routine weed control is recommended. Hand weeding where practiced should be shallow to avoid damaging roots.
Irrigation: To maintain vigorous plant growth irrigate during the dry season to achieve a total of 150 to 200 mm per month. (Consult your irrigation specialist for assistance). Supplementary irrigation (drip, under tree or micro sprinkler) is necessary to reduce incidence of flower abortion and improve yields all year round.
Fertilizer application: Use soil analysis as a guide for fertilizer application. A general recommendation is to apply 114g of Triple Super Phosphate (TSP)/hill at planting and three spades full of well decomposed manure three times a year. Subsequently apply the recommended rates of fertilizer as presented below.
|Age after planting||Urea – 46% N||Potassium
These qualities may be increased/reduced depending on the results of plants/soil analysis and on the amount of manure applied.
After flowering apply 25ml/15L knapsack of foliar fertilizer (high Boron and Calcium) every 14days.
Pest and disease control:
Spider mites & thrips: Control with Sulphur 80WP at 50g/15L(3.3 -3.5g/L) and repeat after 5 days. Application should be early in the morning or late in the evening. Shake knapsack during spraying.
Grasshoppers and crickets: Control by using approved methods.
Mealy bugs: To control, use biological control agents and pheromone traps, Contact PPRSD/MoFA for bio-agents.
Nematodes: To control, plant marigold (Tagetes spp) or croatalaria on the land 2-3 months before transplanting. Plough this into the soil as part of the land preparation. Well decomposed manures also help to control nematodes. Practice crop rotation with non-susceptible hosts.
Anthracnose: Obtain seeds from disease free fruits on healthy mother plants. Practice farm hygiene. Control using EPA approved fungicides.
Die-back: Destroy all affected plants.
Mosaic: Transmitted by Bermisia. Control vectors and rogue out all affected plants and burn.
Damping-off (in seedlings): To control, ensure good drainage and improve sunlight penetration in the nursery.
Bunchy top: Monitor fields and rogue out infested plants and control the vector.
Fruiting/Fruit thinning: Where fruit set is too heavy remove some of the fruits to allow remaining fruits to develop properly. Over crowded fruits are mostly misshapen.
Harvesting: Fruits mature 8-9 months after transplanting. Harvest when colour breaks (a tinge of yellow at the bottom end). Harvest in the cool hours of the day. Wear gloves and harvest into plastic crates to avoid bruising fruits. Economic harvesting may last up to 3 years.
Yield: About 150 fruits/tree/ yr or 40-50 tons/ha
Post harvest handling:
Pack fruits under shade
Sort and discard all malformed fruits
Trim stalk to 1cm
Dip stalk in an approved fungicide solution free from foreign odours
Grade and pack into recommended export boxes or harvesting crates (for domestic market and processing)
|Activity Cost (GHC)|
Land Rent 250.00
|Land Preparation (stumping, ploughing, 700.00
|Seeds (200 grams) 500.00|
|Fertilizer/Organic manure 6,250.00|
|Agro chemicals 500.00|
|Labour (for planting, weed control, irrigation 22,195.00
|Estimated total cost 30,395.00|
Average yield = 150 fruits/tree
Average number of trees=2500
Total number of fruits = 150 x 2500=375,000
5% fruit loss = 18750
Marketable fruits= 375000-18750= 356,250
Price = GHc 0.2/fruit
Income = 356,250 x GHc0.2= GHc 71,250
Net income (income-estimated cost) =
GHc 71,250-GHc 30,395= GHc 40,855.00
Horticulture Development Unit
Export Marketing & Quality Awareness Project
For further information
Contact the nearest MOFA Office or HDU