Litchi Fruit Farming Guide:
The following information is all about Litchi Fruit Farming.
Introduction of Litchi Fruit:- Litchi is a one of the subtropical evergreen table fruit grown in India. This fruit is native to china and introduced in India at the end of 17 th century. India is a no.2 producer of Litchi fruit next to China. In India, Bihar is no.1 producer of Litchi fruit. This fruit is very famous for its pleasant flavour and pulp. This fruit is being consumed as table, dried and canned fruit. Its juice is an excellent source of vitamin ‘C’, protein, calcium and phosphorous. This fruit belongs to the family of “Sapindaceae” and genus of “Litchi”.
Health benefits of Litchi Fruit:– The following are the uses and health benefits of Litchi Fruit.
- Litchi has anti-cancer properties.
- Litchi normalizes the blood pressure and heart rate thereby protecting against strokes.
- Litchi keeps the digestion strong, maintains a clean stomach, improves appetite and cures heartburn and burning sensation in the stomach.
- Litchi is a wealthy source of phosphorus and magnesium which supports powerful bones
- Litchi is an excellent source of Vitamin C and is also a good source of B complex vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folates.
- Ligonol is a low molecular weight polyphenol found abundantly in litchi fruit. Oligonol has several anti-oxidant and anti-influenza virus actions. It also helps to improve blood circulation, reduces weight and protects the skin.
- Litchi is quite low in calories, contains no cholesterol and is rich in dietary fiber, hence aids in weight loss.
Major Production States of Litchi Fruit:- Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab and Haryana.
Varieties of Litchi Fruit:- There are many varieties grown in different parts of the country. Here is the list of varieties commercially cultivated state wise in India.
|State Name||Varieties Grown|
|Bihar and Jharkhand||China, Deshi, Purbi, Early & Late Bedana, Mclean, Muzzaffarpur, Rose Scented, Kasba and Shahi.|
|Orissa||China,Muzaffarpur and Bombai.|
|Punjab and Haryana||Saharanpur, Dehradun, Calcuttia, Muzaffarpur, Seedless (Late) and Rose Scented.|
|Uttaranchal||Rose Scented, Calcuttia, Early and Late Seedless.|
|Uttar Pradesh||Seedless Early, Seedless Late, Early Large Red, Late Large Red, Calcutta, Rose Scented and Dehradun.|
|West Bengal||Muzaffarpur, China, Deshi, Purbi, Elachi Early, Elachi Late, Bombai, Goothi, Bedana, Potee and Kalyani Selection.|
Climate Requirement for Litchi Fruit Farming:- This fruit thrives best in moist climatic conditions and required well distributed rainfall. This fruit tree does not tolerate frost and the optimum temperature for its best growth and yield is 30 ºC to 32 º C. Dry hot summer winds damage the fruit crop where as wet spring, dry summer and light winter is most favourable for its fruit growth.
Soil Requirement for Litchi Fruit Farming:- This fruit tree can be grown on wide range of soils. However, well-drained deep loam soils rich in organic matter are best suited for its cultivation. They even grow best bin light sandy loam soils and lime content in the soil also beneficial for its growth. The Ideal soil pH range for best yield is 5.0 to 7.0.
Propagation in Litchi Fruit Farming:- Propagation is done through seeds as well as vegetative method.
- Seed Propagation: This is NOT common method of propagation as seed propagation takes long time (about 7 to 10 year) to establish Litchi tree.
- Vegetative Propagation: This is the most common method of propagation in Litchi fruit farming. In this method, Litchi is propagated successfully by cuttings and grafting. The best and most common practice adopted all over the world is air- layering method.
Land Preparation, Planting in Litchi Fruit Farming:- The land should be levelled thoroughly and cleared from previously grown crops vegetation. Land should be ploughed 2 or 3 times with a desi disc plough and harrow. Make sure to have wind breakers as hot dry summer winds will affect the fruit crop. To break the winds, Tall trees like eucalyptus, Jamun or mango should be planted at the borders of the field in proper direction.
Air-layering propagation is usually done at onset of monsoon and the air layers can be detached from the mother plant after 60 to 75 days.
The best planting time is Aug to Sept and in case of irrigation, planting can be done in spring and early summer.
Dig the pits size of 1 meter x 1 meter x 1 meter with a distance between plants and rows of 10 meters and these pits should be dug few weeks before the plantation. Usually a square system of plantation is followed in Litchi fruit farming. The pits should be filled with 25 kg of farm yard manure (FYM) and fertilizer of 2 kg bone meal and 300 grams muriate of potash per pit. Adding soil from old Litchi orchard will be beneficial. Once planting is done irrigation should be carried for soil settlement.
Weed Control in Litchi Fruit Farming:- It is essential to keep the weed free during the initial years of growth after plantation. Litchi orchards should be ploughed with soil turning plough & harrowed once after the rainy season in October and the second after the harvesting of Litchi fruits in June or July. Mulching will also control the weed growth at the plant base.
Irrigation in Litchi Fruit Farming:- Carry about 2 to 3 irrigations at the interval of 45 to 60 days during winter for fruit bearing Litchi trees. In case of hot summer months, irrigation should be given at 2 weeks interval. Drip irrigation system can be adopted for better use of water. However, basin or ring system of irrigation is recommended in case of abundant water.
Pruning in Litchi Fruit Farming:- Usually pruning is necessary to bring the proper shape to the plant and frequent removal of dead or diseased branches and damaged shoots should be carried out as part of the pruning process. At the time of harvesting, the part of the shoot bearing the fruit should be removed to promote new growth. In case of heavy vegetative growth, both root and shoot pruning needs to be done.
Intercropping in Litchi Fruit Farming:- Farmers should consider intercropping for extra income during first 4 years as Litchi is a long gestation crop taking about 5 to 6 years to the fruiting stage. The main advantage of inter-cropping is enriching the soil. Any vegetable inter-crops and legume crops can be considered. Inter-crops like cucumber, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, moong dal, cow pea can be cultivated.
|Plant Age(in years)||Manure/Fertilizer (per plant/year in kg’s)|
|Farm Yard Manure||CAN (Calcium ammonium nitrate)||Super phosphate||Muriate of potash|
|1-3||10 to 20||0.3 to 1.00||0.2 to 0.6||0.05 to 0.15|
|4-6||25 to 40||1.0 to 2.0||0.75 to1.25||0.20 to 0.30|
|7-10||40 to 50||2.0 to 3.0||1.50 to 2.0||0.35 to 0.45|
Harvesting in Litchi Fruit Farming:- The litchi tree has a long growing period with four different phases. young non-bearing stage (1 to 3 years), young bearing stage (6 to 10 years), junior adult bearing stage (11 to 20 years) and senior adult bearing stage (21 years and above). During the junior adult bearing phase the tree enters into a condition when the vegetative growth and reproductive growth remain relatively balanced. Fruiting begins from 5 to 6 years of age in case of plants propagated through air layering. After flowering, it takes 70 to 100 days for the fruits to ripe in most of the commercial varieties of India. On an average, the litchi tree yields 40 to 100 kg fruits annually depending on the variety, season & age.
Yield in Litchi Fruit Farming:– Generally any crop yield depends on the variety, climate and farm management practices. On an average, the litchi tree yields up to 40 to 100 kg per tree annually.
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