cultivation - A profitable venture
By Dr Ali Muhammad Khushk and
THE importance of papaya in the world’s economy is
demonstrated by its wide distribution and substantial
production in tropical countries. It has long been known and
cultivated in home gardens because it is one of the few
fruits which throughout the year, gives quick returns and
adapts itself to diverse soil and climatic conditions. The
fruit is cultivated for its nutritive value as it is an
important and economical source of certain vitamins and
minerals. Besides, it is highly prized for medicinal value.
The fruit is used in the treatment of piles, dyspepsia of
spleen and liver, digestive disorders, diphtheria and skin
blemishes. It is a rich source of pectin and alkaloids like
has many other practical applications. It is used in
refining beer and in wool and silk before dyeing and to
de-hair hides before tanning. It serves as an adjunct in
rubber manufacturing and applied tuna liver before
extraction of the oil, which is thereby made richer in
vitamins. It enters into toothpastes, cosmetics and
detergents, as well as pharmaceutical preparations to aid
Papaya is generally grown from seed which may take three to
five weeks for germination. It is expedited by two to three
weeks and the percentage of germination increases by washing
off the aril. Then the seeds are dried and dusted with
fungicide to avoid damping-off, a common cause of loss of
seedlings. Well-prepared seeds can be stored for as long as
three years but the percentage of germination declines with
Farmyard manure should be used at the time of planting. It
is important that the FYM should be dry and well-rotted
because there is a likelihood of the introduction of weeds
and insects in plantation. About 4-5kg should be used per
pit, this approximates to the contents of a basket of 35cm
diameter and a depth of 15cm.
Less but fairly good results are obtained with as low as 2.0
kg per pit if the full quantity is not available. The manure
should be thoroughly mixed with the soil which has been
excavated from the pit, the mixture of the soil and FYM is
returned to pit and packed to a level which brings the top
of the seedling plant to 1-2cm. The average of the FYM used
by the sample respondent is found three to four trucks/acre.
The average cost of farmyard manure at Rs7422 per acre.
An economic analysis is necessary to verify the use of
various inputs of production and the income obtained. Fixed
costs of papaya are estimated by calculating all the costs
incurred from initial land development. The main costs
involved are land development, labour and machinery. Land
development costs include ploughing, planking, levelling and
layout of the field. Land rent, government taxes and mark-up
on the fixed capital have been included in the fixed costs.
The wages of permanent labour and repair of farm equipments
and other miscellaneous costs are considered as the fixed
The variable cost consists of production practices and input
costs including the FYM, fertilizer and pesticides. The
wages for hired labour for irrigation, inter-culturing,
harvesting, handling, and transportation and other
management practices have been included in the analysis.
These costs are known as working capital, defined as the
capital required for the production cycle.
The variable costs are collected from papaya producers in
the study area. The variable cost consists of land
management, crop inputs; FYM, fertilizers, pesticides
irrigation and in addition to the payments for hired labour
for crop production activities. The variable cost varies
from farm to farm and grower to grower as some hire labour
while others engage family members for inter-culturing and
harvesting of papaya. Results indicate that the initial cost
is estimated and found that the highest cost of Rs809 spent
on land development, followed by Rs576 on nursery
management, Rs466 on planting, Rs718.75 on layout of the
area and Rs262.50 on the FYM. The variable costs is
estimated and found that highest input costs Rs7,422 spent
on the FYM and Rs3,791 on irrigation, and Rs2,836 on
inter-culturing. The total initial and variable cost
incurred by papaya grower comes at Rs28,833.
Marketing costs are those expenses which are incurred by the
growers when agricultural commodities move from the
producing area (farm gate to final consumer). Papaya fruit
is sold in the field; hence no marketing costs are borne by
growers. Marketing costs are paid by the contractors.
Growers reported that they do not pay handling; grading,
packing loading/unloading and transportation costs because
contractors provide labour for picking, arrange packing and
The total cost of production is defined as the fixed cost
plus variable costs (TFC + TVC = TC). The total cost of
production is determined to appraise the input-output
relationship. For this purpose all costs incurred in papaya
cultivation are aggregated and presented table 1.
Study findings reveal that the growers follow traditional
practices resulting in low production compared to potential
yield. The gap between the potential and actual yield is
wide due to poor management practices and post-harvest
losses. Other causes of low yield are identified as
inadequate use of chemical fertilizer, lack of knowledge to
control insect pests and diseases.
The empirical investigation reveals that in the horticulture
sector, resources are not optimally allocated which is
reflected by the fact that producers achieve low yields. The
papaya production varies from year to year because of the
perishable nature, seasonal price variation and high
production costs. It is investigated that growers put more
area under papaya the following year, in case the current
market prices are high. This results in serious glut and
heavy losses to growers.
There is a shortage of cold storages and processing
industries and thus the growers are compelled to sell papaya
produce at low price. There is a need to improve the
existing infrastructure facilities, particularly the cold
storages and small and medium size processing industries
which may help in regulating the supply of papaya in
markets, and thereby control price variation in the country.
There is lack of information among growers, particularly at
the time of harvesting, grading, packing, transportation,
marketing prices and supply of the produce. For market
conditions, growers mostly obtained information from
transporters, or they visit the wholesale market where
commission agents are the main source of information.
It is observed that commission agents do not provide timely
and accurate information to growers with the result that
information received is often, misleading, delayed and lacks
credibility which limits the growers to take timely decision
for marketing their produce.
Courtesy: The DAWN