Guava (Psidium guajava) is one of the most common fruits in India. It is quite hardy and prolific bearer. Guava is a commercially significant , highly remunerative crop even without much care. It is a rich source of vitamin C and pectin. It is also a good source of calcium and phosphorus.
Certain important strategies have been identified for enhancing horticulture development in India in order to be competitive in the world market. They involve adoption of modern, innovative and hitech methods. One such strategy is the high density plantation (HDP). This includes adoption of appropriate plant density, canopy management, quality planting material, support and management system with appropriate inputs. HDP generally refers to planting at a closer spacing than the normal recommended spacing. It has been attempted in different crops such as guava, apple ,banana ,mango, pineapple, peach, etc. Many guava farmers have been adopting this technology successfully in different parts of the country. HDP technology results in maximisation of unit area yield and availability of the fruits in the market early which fetch better price.
Guava is successfully grown all over India. The total area and production of guava in the country are 1.90 lakh hectare and 1.68 million tonnes. Major guava producing states are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra , Karnataka , Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. However, Uttar Pradesh, is by far the most important guava producing state of the country and Allahabad has the reputation of growing the best guava in the country as well as in the world.
Guava is very hardy. It can thrive on all types of soil from alluvial to lateric. However, it is sensitive to waterlogging. It can be grown on heavier but well drained soil. Deep friable and well-drained soils are the best. The top soil should be rich for better stand. Soil pH range of 4.5 to 8.2 is congenial for guava but saline or alkaline soils are unsuitable.
Guava is successfully grown under both tropical and subtropical climates. It can grow from sea level to an attitude of about 1500 m (5000'). An annual rainfall of below 1000 mm (40') between June and September is the best for the growth of guava plants. Young plants are susceptible to drought and cold conditions. Yield and quality improve in areas with a distinct winter season.
The most popular guava cultivars are Lucknow 49 , Allahabad Safeda and Harijha. Other varieties preferred by the farmers are Apple, Baruipur Local, Benarasi ,etc. From the view
point of yield and quality, Lucknow-49 may be considered to be the most popular commercial cultivar. Different research institutes have been making efforts to develop some new varieties and hybrids. IIHR, Bangalore, has developed two soft-seeded superior varieties viz., Arka Mridula and Arka Amulya.
Guava is propagated from seeds and also by vegetative methods. Seedling trees produce fruits of variable size and quality although such trees are generally long-lived. Vegetative methods like cutting, air layering, grafting and budding are used for propagation of guava. Air-layering has been observed to be the most successful commercial method practised for guava. The cheapest method of rapid multiplication is stooling, i.e.mound layering in nursery beds.
Planting The field should be deeply ploughed, cross ploughed , harrowed and levelled before digging pits. The pits of about 0.6 m x 0.6m x0.6 m dimension should be dug before the monsoon. After 15-20 days, each pit should be filled with soil mixed with 20 kg of organic manure and 500 g of super phosphate. In very poor soils, the pit size may be bigger, about 1m x 1m x 1m ,and more of organic manures may be necessary. Onset of monsoon is the time to start planting.
Standard spacing for guava is , 6m x 6m, accommodating 112 plants /acre. However, it is commonly planted at a distance of 3.6 m to 5.4m (12' to 18'). Traditional planting spaces in some parts of country range even upto 5.4 to 7.0m (18' to 23'). By increasing the plant density, productivity can be increased. Although there would be reduction in size of fruits, the number of fruits per plant remains more or less similar. In the model scheme, a distance of 4.5m x 4.5m (15'x15')with a population of 195 per acre is considered, which was observed to be common in areas covered during a field study.
Normally irrigation is not required in guava plantation. However, in the early stage, young guava plants require 8 to 10 irrigations a year. Life saving hand watering is necessary in summer season in dry areas and on light soils. Full grown bearing trees require watering during May-July at weekly intervals. Irrigations during winter reduce fruit drop and improve fruit size of winter crop. In order to conserve soil moisture from pre-monsoon showers, V shaped or half moon shaped bunds or saucer shaped basins may be made. Drip irrigation has been proved to be very beneficial for guava. Besides saving 60 % of water, it results in substantial increase in size and number of fruits.
d. Manuring and fertilisation
Guava is very responsive to the application of inorganic fertilisers along with organic manures. Soil type , nutrient status and leaf analysis can give better indication for requirement of nutrients. A thumb rule recommendation is considered in this model. NPK may be applied @100, 40 and 40 g per plant year of age, with stabilisation in the 6th year. They may be applied in two equally split doses in January and August.
Spraying the trees with 0.45 kg zinc sulphate and 0.34 kg slaked lime dissolved in 72.74 l (16 gallons) of water cures Zn deficiency. The number of sprays depend on the severity and extent of the deficiency. Pre-flowering sprays with 0.4% Boric Acid and 0.3% Zinc Sulphate increase the yield and fruit size. Spraying of copper sulphate at 0.2 to 0.4% also increases the growth and yield of guava.
The main practices of inter culture followed are weeding and spading. Manual weeding is preferable; spraying weedicides such as gramoxone is also effective. in order to manage the orchard soil, ploughing two times a year, once in October and the other in January , is necessary. Mulching the basins at least twice a year also is important to conserve moisture and discourage weed growth.
The interspace can be economically utilised by growing suitable intercrops in the early stages till the bearing. A crop combination of several plantation crops, vegetables and leguminous crops like papaya, pineapple, beans,cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, cowpea, etc., are considered safe intercrops.
g. Training and pruning
Training of guava trees improves yield and fruit quality. The main objective of training guava plants is to provide strong framework and scaffold of branches suitable for bearing a heavy remunerative crop without damaging the branches . For this, shoots coming out close to the ground level should be cut off upto at least 30 cm from the soil. The center should be kept open, while four scaffold limbs may be allowed to grow. A light annual pruning is necessary in guava as it bears on current season's growth. Experimental evidences support pruning off 75% of current season's growth in May for harvesting good winter crop.
Fruit fly, mealy bug, scale insects, etc. are the major pests in guava. The following measures are adopted to control the damage done by these pests:
Fruit fly : (a) Spraying of chemicals like malathion 2 ml, phosphamidon 0.5 ml per l of water .
(b) Destruction of infected fruits and clean cultivation .
Mealybug: (a) Soil treatment with aldrin, malathion, thimet, ete
(b) Banding the base of the plant with polythene film to prevent the nymph from climbing up from
(c)Spraying of methyl parathion , monocrotophos or dimethoate.
Scale insect : Spraying of fish oil rosin soap with water or crude oil emulsion,dimetholate, methyl demiton, etc.
The most damaging diseases in guava are wilt and anthracnose. Cancker, cercospora leaf spot, seedling blight. etc., are some other important diseases. Control measures of the major diseases are briefed below:
Wilt disease: Wilt is the most serious fungal disease . Bearing trees , once affected, slowly die away. Drenching the soil at trunk bases with brasicol and spraying the plant with bavistin at early stage of infection minimise the damage. Injecting 8-Quinolonol sulphate is also effective.
Two important seasons of blooming are observed, one in April-May (Monsoon Crop) and the other in September - October (Winter Crop). Growth regulators like NAA, NAD, and 2,4-D are very effective in thinning of flowers and manipulating the cropping season.
Fruit drop in guava is as severe as 45-65% due to different physiological and environmental factors. Spraying of GA is highly effective in reducing the drop.
Grafted, budded or layered guava trees start bearing at the age of 2 to 3 years. Seedling trees require 4 to 5 years to bear. The guava fruit can not be retained on the tree in ripe stage. So, it should be picked immediately when it is mature. Guava is ready for harvest as soon as the deep green colour turns light and a yellowish green patch appears. Individual hand picking at regular intervals will avoid all possible damage.
The yield varies in different cultivars and with care and management of the orchard, age of plant and season of cropping.
The yield per tree may be as high as 350 kg from grafted plants and 90 kg from the seedling tree. A three year old grafted Lucknow - 49 guava tree may yield 55-60 kg under suitable conditions. Yield starts with 4 to 5 kg in the second year . Although the farmers experience a yield of more than 75 kg per tree in HDP of guava, a very modest yield of only 40 kg/tree has been considered for this model.
Compared to monsoon crop, winter crop is much superior in quality and fetch premium price. Therefore, farmers often reduce monsoon crop by deblossoming to get a higher price. This is done by spraying plant regulators like Maleic Hydrazide (100000 ppm) on spring flush of flowers. NAA 100 ppm , NAD 50ppm, or 2,4-D 30 ppm are also reported to be effective in thinning flowers. Root exposure and root pruning are done to bring flowers at a desired time. Sometimes bending of twigs is done to force new sprouts which come up with flowers. Hand thinning of flowers is also very effective. Defoliation is also recommended sometimes for forcing new growth with flowers.
Guava is highly perishable in nature. Shelf life under ambient conditions is 2 to 3 days on an average. Therefore. it should be marketed immediately after harvest. However, it may be stored for a few days to adjust the market demand. After careful harvest, the fruits should be brought to packhouse. For packing, corrugated fibre board with adequate perforation may be used. However, fruits are reported to keep 3 to 5 weeks in cold store at a temperature of 8 to 10 degree Celsus with 85 -90 % RH.
MARKETING AND EXPORT
It is necessary to despatch guava to markets as quickly as possible. Some fruits are exported from India to Bangladesh, Jordan, Quater, France, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, etc. The other potential foreign markets are UAE, Lebanon , the Netherlands and Canada.
FARM GATE PRICE
Considering the price variation in two different seasons, an average farm gate price of Rs.5.50 per kg of guava has been considered for this model.
Based on the average field observations and adoption of some conservative approach in assuming yield, the cost of establishment and maintenance of a high density guava orchard has been worked out. The unit cost thus worked out is Rs.18040.00 per acre (upto the 2nd year). The details are presented in Annexure-I. The minimum unit size considered bankable is 0.33 acre (1 bigha).
Assuming 10% margin money and 90% bank loan, the loan amount works out to be Rs.16236.00 per acre.
Interest rate may be decided by the bank as per the guidelines of RBI.
With the above stated techno-economic parameters, the results of the financial analysis are as under (Details in AnnexureII).
NPW at 15% DF : Rs.49486 (+)
BCR at 15% DF : 2.47 : 1.00
IRR > 50%
Repayment : 4 years including 1 year of grace period (Vide Annexure III).
The income from sales of layering, firewood (after uprooting the trees) and fence - crop production has not been considered while working out the economics in the present model.
Lease rent of the land, if taken by the entrepreneur on lease, is also not considered while estimating the unit cost.
The banks may like to take these items into consideration depending upon the merit of the proposal.
BENEFITS OF HIGH DENSITY GUAVA PLANTATION
A comparison of some important parameters adopted and worked out in guava plantations with traditional spacing with low density and closer spacing with higher density of plant population may be presented as under :
Parameters With traditional spacing With closer spacing
In view of the popularity of the high density technology and likely benefits , it is now high time to encourage further adoption of this technology by the guava growers of the country. Availability of institutional credit for adoption of this technology would definitely popularise it further among the Indian horticulturists. The model scheme has been prepared keeping in mind what the farmers have been practically adopting in the field level. As such, credit inflow into this subsector is most likely to help guava growers in improving their economic condition faster.
ANNEXURE - I(A)
COST OF ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE
OF HIGH DENSITY GUAVA PLANTATION
UNIT SIZE 0.4 ha (1 acre)
Amount in Rs.
Fencing (Live Hedge)
Hiring of tractor for ploughing
Sub Total : 'A'
OPERATION & LABOUR
18040 (upto 2nd year)
16236 (90% of unit cost)
ASSUMPTIONS(ANNEXURE I (_B) -HIGH DENSITY GUAVA
Varieties: L-49, Allahabad Safeda, etc.
Planting Material (per layer)
Spacing :4.5 m x 4.5m (15 x 15)
Labour per manday
Plant Population: 195
Sale price (per kg)
FYM: 15kg to 30kg/per plant from first to fifth year and stabilisation