• Papaya, botanically known as Carica papaya (L.) belongs to the family Caricaceae.
  • Like coconut, papaya tree is also called as "Karpaga Viruksha" since the various parts of the tree are used either for human consumption or for animals or as raw materials for many agro-based industries.
  • Papaya not only helps to improve the farm income but also serves as a cottage industry.
  • It is easy to grow and is rich in nutrient content. It is highly valued for its digestive properties.
  • The nutritive and medicinal properties of papaya are well known.
  • The nutritive value of the papaya fruit is as follows:

Quantity (g/100g edible portion)
Calorific value
Iron (mg/100g)
Carotene (vit A) IU/100g
Thiamine (vit B) 40
Riboflavin (vit B2) 250
Nicotinic acid 0.2
Ascorbic acid (vit C) mg/100 g 46


Origin and Spread

  • The original home of the papaya is tropical America.
  • The studies in the areas of archaeology, history and etymology to trace the origin of papaya are limited.
  • Most of the evidence about its origin are based on the species distribution, records of world travels and limited etymology.
  • It is said to have been introduced into India by about the middle of the 16th century.
  • The family Caricaceae as a whole was practically reported to be restricted to continental America, though it was known in the West Indies namely Jamaica atleast in 1756.
  • Subsequently, Spanish and Portuguese sailors had dessiminated the papaya to other tropical and sub tropical countries.
  • Since the papaya seeds have a moderate period of longevity, it is likely that the papaya spreads rapidly throughout the tropics following the discovery and exploration of the new world.
  • It has existed nearly everywhere in the tropics practically as long as man has recorded the modern history.
  • Presently, it has emerged from the status of home garden crop to be grown in commercial orchards of Hawaii, India, Sri Lanka, South America, Tropical America, Indonesia and Philippines.


Area and production

Output of major papaya producing countries in the world (Lakh M.T.)

Area in Ha. Production in Mt Productivity in Kg/Ha
2012 2012 2012
7300 254000 34794
Congo, Dem Republic of
200 3500 17500
2752 38694 14060
129130 5160390 39962
10450 906312 86728
14227 712917 50110
95000 775000 8157
9121 123690 13561
Thailand 13000 215000 16538
World 434785 12411566 28546

Source : FAOstat citation

  • India is the largest producer of papaya in the world.
  • The area and production of papaya in India is estimated as129130 ha and 5160390M.tonnes respectively.
  • In India, it is cultivated mainly in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
  • However, it is also grown in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya.

Area, production and productivity of papaya in India (2012-13)

Area (000' ha)
Produciton (000' Tonnes )
Productivity (t/ha)
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 0.33 2.38 7.212
Andhra Pradesh (Composite) 20.65 1,651.96 79.998
Karnataka 6.6 460.2 69.727
Uttar Pradesh
0.18 12.86 71.444
Assam 8.74 174.59 19.976
West Bengal 11.3 331 29.292
Gujarat 19.54 1,189.31 60.865
Orissa 3.73 82 21.984
Maharashtra 10 363 36.3
Kerala 16.46 96.93 5.889
Bihar 1.81 44.28 24.464
Chattisgarh 11.81 289.89 24.546
Tamil Nadu 0.96 184.24 191.917
Madhya Pradesh 12.54 413 32.935
Rajasthan 0.9 16.01 17.789
Meghalaya 0,71 5.5 7.746
Total 132.13 5,381.75 40.731
Source: NHB


Present Scenario in Tamil Nadu

  • Although papaya performs best under tropical conditions where it bears fruits throughout the year, it also produces excellent crops in the milder sub tropical areas.
  • Tamil Nadu in particular has proved to be an admirable home for this delicious dessert fruit because of the mild temperatures.
  • In Tamil Nadu, papaya is being cultivated for its dessert fruits as well as papain. Major papaya growing area in Tamil Nadu is concentrated around Coimbatore, Madurai, Dindigul and Tirunelveli districts.
  • Though the area under papaya in Tamil Nadu is meagre, the medicinal value of the fruit and the foreign exchange earned by the export of papain is being realized by the people.
  • Since Tamil Nadu is endowed with varied agro-climatic zones, there is lot of scope for extending the area and productivity of papaya.


National Economy

  • The importance of papaya to agriculture and the world's economy is demonstrated by its wide distribution and substantial production in the tropical countries.
  • It has long been grown and cultivated in the home gardens by the people of tropics because it is one of the few fruits which flowers and fruits throughout the year, gives quick returns and adapts itself to diverse soil and climatic conditions.
  • It gives one of the highest production of fruits per hectare and an income next to banana.
  • Thus, the cultivation of papaya holds of great economic potential for its fresh and processed fruits as preserves, papain, pectin, alkaloids like carpaine and several natural volatile compounds.



  • Papaya is a wholesome fruit and has several uses.
  • The fruit is prescribed for ailments like piles, dyspepsia of liver, spleen and digestive disorders.
  • The roots are used as nerve tonic, pulp is used to cure skin disorders.
  • The slices of raw fruits are used while cooking for softening meat. Tough meat can easily be made more tender by cooking it with a slice of green papaya.
  • The mature unripe fruit is sometimes cooked as a vegetable. It can also be made into various kinds of pickles.
  • Apart from these, processed products such as jam, jelly and nectar can be prepared from the fruits.
  • The milky latex contains an enzyme called 'papain' which greatly resembles animal pepsin in its digestive action and has been recognized as being of considerable value in the treatment of dyspepsia and other similar ailments.
  • Papain is also used in the treatment of ulcers, diptheria, manufacture of chewing gum, deguming of natural silk and rayon, in cosmetics, dental pastes etc.
  • It is also used to extract oil from the liver of 'Tuna' fish.