Egg Fruit Farming Guide:
Introduction of Egg Fruit (Canistel):- Egg fruit (Pautaria campechiana) which is popularly known as “Canistel” belongs to the family of “Sapotaceae” is a large, symmetrical, bushy, much branched, small sized an evergreen tree. This fruit is indigenous to Malaysia and is also found in the Western Ghats of South India and the tropical regions of South East Asia. The tree reaches a height about 20 to 30 ft. This tree fruits are produced about the size of an apple and the colour of the fruit is yellowish to orange with a meaty pulp similar to texture of a hard-boiled egg yolk enclosing often a single large seed. In India, this fruit is known to only some locals and the commercial cultivation of this fruit is very limited. These fruits can be consumed fresh either without removing the skin or after peeling and slicing. The egg fruit pulp is used in the preparation of milk shake.
Health benefits of Egg Fruit:- The following are the health benefits of Egg-fruit (Canistel).
- Egg fruit is a good source of Niacin.
- Egg fruit helps in digestive metabolism due to Fibre content.
- Egg fruit is good for eye health as it is a source of Carotene.
- Egg fruit is good for immune system as it has Ascorbic acid.
- Egg fruit is a good source of Iron hence good for haemoglobin production and helps in preventing from insomnia.
Climate Requirement for Egg Fruit Farming:- The egg fruit thrives well in tropical and subtropical climatic conditions. This fruit tree requires moderate rainfall, frost free conditions and dry weather for its better growth and quality of fruits.
Soil Requirement for Egg Fruit Farming:- This fruit can be grown on wide range of soils from loose sandy soils to heavy clay soils. However, it yields more with loamy well-drained soils with good organic matter. This fruit tree tolerates salinity and iron deficiency to some extent in the soil. The best part of the tree is, it can be even grown in the soils where there is a nutrient deficiencies are found in the soil. This fruit can thrive well in acidic to neutral soils with range of pH 4.5 to 7.5.
Varieties of Egg Fruits:- There are only two known types of egg fruit varieties. one producing round fruit containing 2 to 3 seeds, and the other one yielding elongated fruits having a single seed.
Propagation in Egg Fruit Farming:- This fruit trees are usually propagated by seeds and as the seeds have poor viability they should be sown immediately after collection.
(As seeds lose viability very fast and hence after extraction they should be cleaned, dried slightly in the shade and sown in well drained medium comprising top soil and organic material in a 3:1 ratio). Generally, seeds start germinating after two weeks and once they attain 3 to 4 leaves, can be transplanted to pits or poly bags. Filed planting should be done after 6 months. This tree also propagated vegetatively by approach grafting or budding.
Land Preparation, Planting in Egg Fruit Farming:- Prepare the land by giving 2 or 3 ploughings with desi plough and make sure the land is levelled and weed-free. Supplement the land with any well rotten farm yard manure to improve the soil fertility.
Square or Rectangular system of planting can be adopted in Egg fruit farming. Planting can be done through the year provided there is a irrigation facility. The planting distance of 6 meter x 6 meter to 8 meter x 8 meter is recommended. This usually accommodates about 160 plants per hectare land.
Pests and Diseases in Egg Fruit Farming:- No serious pest and disease are found in this fruit plantation.
Pruning in Egg Fruit Farming:- For establishing good framework, mild pruning should be carried out during the early stages of egg fruit plant growth. In subsequent years, pruning task should be limited to remove the dead branches or malformed branches.
Irrigation in Egg Fruit Farming:- Irrigation should be provided immediately after planting in the main field. It does not require any irrigation in well distributed rain-fall regions. In dry, hot conditions, irrigation should be provided depending on the weather condition, soil (type) moisture holding capacity. Sprinkler irrigation or , ring system of irrigation can be adopted for best utilization of the water.
Intercultural Operations in Egg Fruit Farming:- Cleaning the basins on regular basis and removing dead branches will make the orchard weed free. Mulching can be done with saw dust which controls the weed growth and keeps the moisture and finally ends up as well rotten compost.
Manures and Fertilizers in Egg Fruit Farming:- Exact nutrient/fertilizer requirements of egg fruit are not studied. However, same manures in avocado fruit can be applied in this case. Otherwise, as general application, one can apply about 20 to 25 kg of well rotten farmyard manure (FMY) along with 250 grams of Nitrogen per/tree/year.
Harvesting in Egg Fruit Farming:- These trees come to fruit bearing in 3 to 4 years and the peak season of fruiting is June to July in the Western Ghats. The fruits are yellow to orange colour even at immature stage but as they mature, fruit skin texture turns from glossy to dull. Egg fruits should be harvested by hand or by using a pole fitted with a cloth bag. The harvested fruits should be handled gently as they easily ruptured while transporting to local markets.
Yield in Egg Fruit Farming:- Generally, any crop yield depends on many factors like soil type, cultivar, weather conditions and farming practices. In egg fruit farming a well maintained matured tree can yield 350 to 400 fruits.
For other fruit farming Information: Read here.
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