Guava Meadow Orchard Cultivation
Guava is an important fruit crop of Rahata Taluka in Ahmednagar District that is grown in mriga bahar and hasta bahar season in Ahmednagar District. The area under guava is 3200 hectares in Ahmednagar District as per 2011-2012 data out of which more than 85 per cent area is in Rahata block. The guava cultivation is predominantly grown under light to medium soils that faces various problems like poor flowering, poor fruit size and quality. The average yield of L-49 or Sardar variety amongst guava growers is 175 quintals per ha.The farmers are using various technologies like use of micro irrigation and use of water soluble fertilizers. The net income of conventional guava in Rahata block is Rs 110000 per ha. Farmers are forced to undertake guava cultivation with poor quality of fruits and low yeilds.
The KVK scientists provided technological intervention by demonstrating the ultra heigh density method of guava cultivation which is called meadow orchard cultivation as an easy option for tackling the problem of poor yield and quality. The KVK initially spread awareness through promoting the participation and involving guava growers in Nationa Convention on Guava at Shirdi during 2009 and 2011. Thereafter the KVK itself initiated the guava meadow orchard at its Demonstration Farm. The KVK initially had conventional plantation at 5 X 5 m planting distance which was modified to 3 X 3m and 2.25 X 2.25m and 3 X 2.25m and 3 X 1.25m planting distance. The technology of
pruning guava plants thrice in a year has been modified to twice in a year once at May-June prior to june rainfall and second after harvest in October-November. During the other remaining period the pruning is restricted to thinning of unwanted vegetative shoots. After the success of guava meadow plantation at KVK Demonstration Farm the planting distance of 3 X 2.25 providing an average yield of 262 q/ha was recommended by KVK for new guava growers in ultra high density meadow plantation.
The KVK has conducted 06 oncampus and off campus training programmes for farmers and rural youths for disseminating the guava meadow cultivation and pruning techniques.The results have been found to be very encouraging as the farmers who were looking for an option for pomegranate are now shifting towards guava meadow cultivation. Apart from increasing the yield of fruits the qulaity of fruits obtained is also very high. The average weight of more than 75 per cent fruits under guava meadow orchard is 250 grams and the shelf life of such fruits after harvest is more than 3 to 5 days which is far superior than other varieties like Shweta, Lalit and G-Vilas Pasand grown by many guava growers.The area under guava meadow cultivation was hardly 100 ha which has grown to more than 600 ha in
Ahmednagar, Nashik and Aurangabad districts where the pomegranate cultivation was predominant. Now the fruit growers are slowly shifting to guava meadow orchard plantation due to increase in net icome from 110000 per ha 240000 per ha.