With the help of technology and a Taiwanese variety of seed, Punjab's maiden attempt at commercial cultivation of papaya is bearing fruit. A commercial farm has come up at the border village of Wadala Veeram in the district where 900 papaya saplings planted two months ago are showing promising growth.
The tropical fruit's biggest challenge in the state was the harsh winters, which is not conducive for its survival. "But as part of the new techniques that we have developed, the farmers are trained to cover the plants with polysheets and maintain the moisture content of the soil. Apart from this, some sprays are also helpful," said Dr Baz Singh, Assistant Director, Horticulture, Punjab.
Dr Baz said they brought the Taiwanese variety "a Red Lady "a of the crop from Solapur district in Maharashtra to explore its possibilities in Punjab. Several laboratory experiments later, they zeroed in on a progressive farmer, Karamjit Singh, of Wadala Veeram village.