PawPaw Business, which contains papayas is among the most nutritious fruits grown in Kenya. The fruits do well in areas that are endowed with a warm and hot climate. Many Kenyans, especially in the hot areas, plant pawpaws under irrigation schemes, a factor that enables them to fully maximize the resources available.
Here is a Brief Description of Pawpaw Plantation.
Varieties of Pawpaws
Solo– This variety produces small round fruits which are so sweet, and bear a uniform size and shape. It is so popular for both local and exportation.
Sunrise– This variety produces high-quality fruits, which are smooth and pear-shaped. The fruit weighs about 400-650g and its flesh is reddish-orange.
Mountain– It produces small fruits which are good for jam and preservative.
Vega F1– The fruits are red in color, and medium in size. They weigh about 1-1.2 kilograms.
Red royale F1– This is a high class breed whose quality is very good. It weighs around 1.7-2.3kgs. The color is red, and the fruit is so sweet.
Sinta F1- The female fruits are round, with an average weight of around 2 kilograms. The flesh is deep yellow, very sweet and firm.
Types of Pawpaw Plants.
The types of plants depend on the arrangement of the flowers. Differentiation only comes after flowering. The types include:
The male (Staminate)– This type contains male parts and it does not produce fruits. Flowers grow in large numbers and in long branches.
The female (pistillate)– This type has female parts. The flowers are huge, and in clusters near the trunk. This type is pollinated through cross pollination and the fruits produced are so sweet.
The hermaphrodite– This type contains both female and male parts hence capable of undertaking self pollination.
Requirements Necessary for Growth.
Pawpaws do well in warm and hot areas. Temperatures range from 20-35 degrees. The plant produces sweet fruits if grown in sunny season.
Pawpaws do not do well in prolonged drought. It requies an even distribution of rainfall, ranging from 100mm. In areas of low rainfall, the farmer should consider doing irrigation.
Pawpaws do well in soils of between a PH scale of 6-6.5. Additionally, the soils should be rich in nutrients.
Pawpaws are well advantaged since they can grow all year round if the climate is favorable.
Propagation of PawPaws.
Vegetative propagation of pawpaws results in huge plants, which are resistant to attack by pathogens and produce high yields. This method is quite expensive hence it is not used mostly.
The method of using seeds to grow pawpaws is very easy hence very successful. The plants generated from seeds generate fruits that vary in taste, color, shape and size.
Preparation of seeds can be done through sowing directly in the field or using polythene bags, nursery seeds, or containers. Seeds normally germinate after 2-3 weeks. Additionally, the Preparation of a seedbed should be done to a fine tilth.
After that, the soil has to be drenched with a mixture of water and manure or compost. The process ensures the soil is free of diseases and seed dormancy is broken. Additionally, the young plants benefit from a sufficient supply of nutrients.
After sowing, the farmer has to wait for 4-5 weeks to transplant. By this stage, the seedlings will have attained a length of about 15-2cm long. Careful handling is necessary during transplantation so as to avoid root disturbance.
Seedlings have to be sprayed with OPTIMIZER 10ml/20l for it to prevent transplanting shock.
Pest and Disease Management.
The farmer has to be cautious against thrips, whiteflies, fruit fly, red spider mites, mealy bugs, and scale. They affect the shoot, leaves and fruits.
Birds also feed on ripe fruit hence the farmer has to harvest the fruit immediately after maturity.
The farmer has to be cautious against diseases like damping off, papaya ring spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose, bunchy top disease, leaf spot, leaf curl, papaya mosaic, and fruit rot.
Harvesting and Market of Pawpaws.
The flowering of papayas starts after 5-8 months of the plantation. Fruits get ready for harvesting 2 months after flowering. Harvesting is carried out by cutting off the fruit from the pawpaw tree.
Fruits should be harvested right before ripening. The harvested fruits should be washed, to remove anything that can affect the shelf life.
A single tree yields about 30-50 fruits yearly. This yield gives 35-50tons of fruit per ha annually. Papaya plantation has an economical period of 3-4 years but the pawpaw tree can extend for over 10 years.
One kilogram of pawpaw goes for as high as Kshs. 60.
The Red Lady F1 variety is capable of yielding upto o 54-120 fruits. An acre farm can host about 1000 trees. The farmer is capable of harvesting 54,000 fruits in a single season and for three seasons, adding up to one year, the farmer scoops 108,000 fruits.