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Loquat Cultivation: Farmers Can Earn Lakhs of Rupees by Cultivating this Surprising Fruit

Loquat cultivation presents a profitable opportunity for farmers, offering not only delicious fruits but also a significant source of income, with proper care and techniques, farmers can enhance their livelihoods through successful cultivation.

Saurabh Shukla
Farmers Can Earn Lakhs of Rupees by Cultivating this Surprising Fruit (Photo Source: GWM)
Farmers Can Earn Lakhs of Rupees by Cultivating this Surprising Fruit (Photo Source: GWM)

Loquat, known as Loquat or Lugath in India and biwa in Japan, is a fruit-bearing evergreen shrub or tree highly valued for its juicy orange fruit and leaves, which are popularly used to brew herbal tea. While native to central-eastern China, Loquat is cultivated extensively in regions such as Taiwan, Korea, China, and Japan. However, its cultivation has also found success in various parts of India, including Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, and Uttar Pradesh.

Beyond its delicious taste, Loquat offers numerous health benefits. Consumption of Loquat is believed to promote healthy skin, improve eyesight, aid in weight loss, help control blood pressure, and enhance bone strength.

Suitable Climate & Soil Conditions

Loquat trees thrive in semi-hilly areas with adequate drainage. In Punjab, regions such as Rupnagar, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, and Patiala have shown to be favorable for Loquat cultivation. The fruit typically ripens from the end of March to April, offering a valuable harvest during a period when other fruits are scarce in the market.

Recommended Loquat Varieties

Several advanced Loquat varieties have been developed to suit different preferences and climates:

  • Californians Advance (1970): This variety features medium-sized, round or triangular fruits with a yellow outer color and buttery white pulp. It offers a delightful sweet and sour taste and ripens in late April.

  • Golden Yellow (1967): Characterized by medium-sized, egg-shaped fruits with an attractive golden yellow color, this variety has yellow pulp with a sour-sweet taste. It typically ripens in the third week of March.

  • Pale Yellow (1967): Medium to large, with slightly rounded or triangular fruits, this variety offers white pulp with a sour-sweet taste. It ripens in the second week of April.

Planting and Care

  • Pollination: Loquat cultivars are either self-pollinated or lightly pollinated, thus requiring careful planning during planting to ensure proper pollination. Mixing different varieties, such as planting Californians Advance alongside Golden Yellow and Pale Yellow varieties, can enhance pollination.

  • Seedling Preparation: For commercial orchards, selecting the right type of seedlings is crucial. Seedlings are typically prepared through grafting or other vegetative methods.

  • Planting Season: Loquat saplings are best planted in August-September when the weather is cooler. Planting should be done squarely at a distance of 6.5x6.5 meters.

  • Root Preparation: Loquat seeds germinate rapidly when directly removed from the fruit and planted. Prolonged exposure to air, light, or sunlight can diminish their germination rate. Fresh seeds are typically sown in moist sand between April and May. Once the stems reach a height of 4-5 cm, they are transplanted into the nursery for further growth.

  • Inarching: The optimal time for inarching is during July-August. While air-chopping is an alternative method, it generally yields lower success rates compared to inarching.

  • Irrigation: While Loquat is drought-tolerant, timely irrigation can significantly improve fruit yield. Three to four irrigations are recommended from fruit set to maturity.

Harvesting and Preservation

  • Fruit Picking: Loquat trees typically start bearing fruit in the third year. It's essential to avoid picking green or unripe fruits individually; instead, harvest entire bunches when they ripen uniformly. Clippers should be used instead of picking fruits by hand.

  • Preservation: Fruits should be graded into different categories before packing, discarding any wrinkled or damaged ones. Packing should be done carefully in boxes, preferably with a cushion of paper underneath to prevent bruising during transportation.

  • Fruit Packing: For packing, it is advisable to place each fruit in boxes with a layer of paper underneath, creating a cushion to prevent bruising. If the fruits are destined for the nearby market, wooden boxes weighing 14 kg are recommended for transportation.

Loquat cultivation offers a promising opportunity for farmers in various regions, providing not only a valuable source of income but also contributing to the diversification of agricultural produce. With the right techniques and care, Loquat cultivation can be a rewarding endeavor for farmers looking to expand their agricultural practices.

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