Jamun Farming and Cultivation For Profit in India
Jamun is an indigenous fruit in India. They are called Njaval in Malayalam. In English, they are referred to as black plum or java plum. Jamun trees are evergreen and grow up to 35 feet in height. The fruits are sweet, and juicy and leave a purplish color on the tongue. The fruit and seed are known to have medicinal value and the fruit itself is high in antioxidants. They are known to be effective in treating and controlling diabetes. Though the value of the fruit itself is known and researched, farming of the Jamun fruit is very limited. The trees are hardy and survive harsh weather conditions. They require minimal water and maintenance, the price is moderately high and the yield per tree is nominal. Even with the favorable factors, there are a few challenges too that make Jamun farming not preferable among many farmers.
- Climate for Cultivation For Growing Jamun: Fortunately India is one of the best places to grow Jamun. 80%of all of India can grow this plant except for places where it’s colder and condition of frost exists. The best part is to grow Jamun places with tropical or Mediterranean climatic conditions. This is the entire south, west, and east of India. Parts of north India are not feasible for the cultivation of Jamun as areas like Kashmir have a lower temperature.
- Ideal Soil for Cultivation : Soil to is not a problem for Jamun cultivation, but it’s best to avoid light sandy soil as the chances of tree fall are higher. Though the trees will grow well, the roots are not capable of holding to the ground, and sooner or later the tree will fall in windy conditions. Clay soil is good though it has problems of slower growth. Apart from these 2 soil conditions, Jamun will be perfect for any soil conditions. Clay soil conditions can be amended by adding organic matter to the soil and especially 2 meters around the plant area. For commercial cultivation, this is not feasible as it will require a lot of organic matter, compost, or cow manure.
- Varieties of Jamun: Officially there are no varieties of Jamun commercially cultivated, though the ram Jamun Variety is the one preferred. The variety has large fruits up to 15 grams and smaller stones. The other variety which is not common in commercial cultivation is the desi Jamun variety which has medium to small size and has larger stones to pulp ratio. New varieties are continuously searched for and there are seedless varieties which are developed lately.
- Propagation: Propagation of Jamun is done through seeds and also through stem cuttings or air layering. While most Jamun fruits are propagated through seeds and are true to seed, the time to bear fruits when propagated from seeds is a bit higher than those propagated from the stem.
- Season: Jamun Starts around June or July in the northern part of India and a bit earlier, by May or June in Southern India. Flowering is usually from February to march and may continue towards April. For planting Jamun though, the right time is always during the monsoon. A week after the monsoon, Plants that are at least 2 feet are used for plantations.
- Land Preparation: Jamun plants are very tolerant to soil conditions but land preparation helps the plants grow a bit faster and stronger during the initial years. land preparation plays a major role in plant growth and health. Apply 3-5 KG of Manure, 3-5 kg of Compost, and one kg of Neem cake in a pit 1 Meter by one meter and mix thoroughly before planting the saplings for faster and better growth. Make sure that there is no water stagnation near the plants and water the plants regularly.
- Planting: Planting of Jamun plants traditionally would be done with proper spacing to allow the trees to grow wild and free like most forest trees. This kind of plantation used to take up more space, and allow the plant to grow large and tall from all sides. The older system took more space per plant and had problems when it came to harvesting too. The yield too was limited per plant as the pruning of these plants was rarely practiced. Plants were spaced 10 meters apart with each tree taking up approximately 5 meters on all sides. This system accommodates up to 50 trees per acre. Lately, with high-density plantations, the plants were pruned regularly and a height of 10 feet was maintained. with higher branching due to pruning of the trees, Jamun yield also increased per tree and the ease of harvesting was also a big benefit for farmers. In high-density plantations, the trees were planted 5 meters apart with each row 25 meters wide. The rows were sider to accommodate the branches and also to ensure passage for picking, and application of pesticides and fertilizers when required.
- Spacing and Density: The spacing of 10 meters by 10 meters is practiced in traditional Jamun plantations. A spacing of 5 meters by 5 meters with 25 meter spacing between rows is required for a high-density plantation.
- Intercropping: intercropping of a wide range of vegetables and crops is possible during the first 2-3 years of Jamun plantation. Every year, the plant will take up more space and cover more areas eventually leaving only enough space for passage. Crops like cowpea, bhindi, brinjal, and chilies can be intercropped with Jamun for the first few years. Trees like papaya which can be cut off in the second or third year can also be used as intercrop. Avoid planting coconuts or grains like wheat and rice as an intercrop.
- Irrigation. One of the best parts about Jamun plants is that it requires minimal care and attention. Once the roots are set and it survives for a year, the plant is as good as safe for the entire life. Plants require enough care in the first year and that includes irrigation. Irrigate the plant at least once a week during summers and at least once a month during winters. After a year, when the plant reaches the height of 1-2 meters, there is no need for irrigation even during summers unless they are prolonged or very harsh. You will need no irrigation after the 5th year even in harsh climatic conditions.
- Fertilizers. Application of 10 KG FYM during planting of the sapling will improve the plant growth during the first year and the root setting will be good too if the soil is loose with organic matter. Phosphorus after the first 3 months could increase branching and growth. addition of urea and potash may be required depending on soil condition. Urea is required in most cases but trace potash will be sufficient till the fruiting stage. Micronutrients are key to the better health of plants and the application of the same is recommended at least once a year.
- Pests insect pests include whitefly and leaf-eating caterpillars which are usually a problem for Jamun trees. Spraying of insecticides and pesticides is also a major problem due to the height of the trees in traditional farming methods. With high-density farming, sprays are much easier and possible. The major threat to Jamun plants is not insects but birds and squirrels. Crows and other birds are constant visitors to Jamun plants and can cause some loss in crops.
- Diseases: Anthracnose is a disease that affects Jamun fruits and can be seen if the leaves have spots or fruits have water-stained marks. Fungicide mix is often used to control anthracnose in Jamun though it’s rarely needed.
- Training and Pruning: Training and pruning are key for high-density Jamun plantation. Unlike traditional Jamun cultivation, Training and pruning are key to keeping the heigh of the tree to a maximum of 10 feet in the high-density plantation. With limited top growth, the plant usually tends to shoot out more branches and create a large mess. Training is key every few months to ensure there is enough aeration and all dead leaves and branches are removed. For traditional farming of Jamun, there is no training or pruning practiced, unless on occasions where the branches tend to create a hassle or are bending towards the ground preventing passage.
- Harvesting: Harvesting of Jamun is the most tedious of all processes for Jamun cultivators and farmers. For people who have one tree, the process of climbing the tree every second or third day to harvest Jamun is easier than harvesting 10 or 100 trees every day. Manpower is crucial and skilled labor is important. People should be skilled to climb trees and harvest these fruits. Nets and investments to prevent the fruits from falling to the ground and being damaged are also to consider. harvesters climb trees and beat the branches to drop the fruits which are collected in a net below. Lately, the government of Maharashtra is providing subsidies of up to 20000 per tree for setting up Paranchi or scaffolds to help harvest Jamun fruits.
- Post Harvest: There is no post-harvest process when it comes to Jamun fruits. The fruits are usually sold directly to the open market without any processing. For ayurvedic and medicinal Jamun fruits, the fruits are sometimes requested dried and sun-drying is common in these cases.
- Yield: Yield depends on the age of the tree and a fully mature tree is capable of Yiuelding near 100 Kilos every year. The average yield per acre is approximately 3800-4000 KG per year.
- Area of cultivation: Commercial cultivation of Jamun is common in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. There is considerable interest in the cultivation of Jamun in Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Bihar among other states lately. With promotions from the Indian government, the possibility of increasing Jamun trees and Jamun farming is a possibility.
- Market information: Jamun is a seasonal fruit with a very short timespan in the market. The fruits usually have a good price during their season and people are willing to pay the price of 150-200 Rs per kilo. Unlike many other fruits, Jamun though does not have the potential for bulk purchase. Customers usually purchase a kilo or two at a time unlike fruits like mangoes where the bulk purchase is more common. Even with small purchases, the demand for the fruit is high and the commodity is very limited. This ensures the farmers a good price too. Apart from the local market, the interest in Jamun is high in the UK, France, and the middle east. The USA and other countries too are of considerable interest for export and the possibility is high. Currently, as of writing this article, there are less than 150 exporters actively indulging in Jamun export which shows very less competition and high scope.
- Weed Control: Weed control is important only for the first 2 years till the plant reaches the height of 3-4 feet. If possible intercropping should be considered for these two years to maintain the land and also earn profit for the first few years. Vegetable crops like chilies and Brinjal are excellent crops to add value to Jamun farming. Apart from keeping the land weed-free, the area will also be utilized well adding revenue to the farmer till the Jamun plants are established.
- Seeds: Jamun plants are propagated from seeds. Grafting can provide good quality variety but Jamun plants are usually trued to seed and produce the same fruit quality from the seed. With seed propagation though, the time to yield fruits is a bit longer. But on the other hand, the yield of a non-grafted plant is 15-20% higher than those grafted.
Yield and Profit Per acre in Jamun farming
There is 2 structure when it comes to farming and calculating profits and yield. It depends on the type of trees and the type of plantation For traditional Farming with 50 trees per acre the profit varies as compared to farming in high density. The plant also makes a huge difference. For instance, grafted plants have a slightly lower yield than plants from seedlings that are non grafted. There is also a considerable time gap from plantation to profitable yield. Jamun trees take 6-8 years depending on the plant for the first harvest and the full harvest may take up to 10 years when the trees are fully mature. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to calculate the amount of loss incurred by farmers during these few years of inactivity on the farm.
Considering only an average yield of 85 Kilos per plant with 100 Plant in a traditional Jamun plantation the calculations would be as below from the 10th year.
|Average yield per plant||85 KG|
|Total Trees per acre||45|
|Total Yield||3825 kg|
|Average price PEr Kio||150|
|Total Expenses including Harvesting||Rs. 200,000|
|Net Profit from one acre Jamun Cultivation||Rs. 373750|
In most cases, even with a below-average yield of 50 KG per plant and a rate of 100 Rs per kilo, the farmer will make a gross revenue of 2.25 Lakh rupees, still making a meager profit of 25,000 Rs per year considering labor and expenses at 2 Lakh rupees. Jamun is a profitable crop to be considered, especially where there are limited water resources and forest plants thrive.
Cost of Farming
Jamun plants are not hard to cultivate. The only problem with Jamun cultivation is the time it takes to bear fruits. Jamun trees take an average of 8 years to be profitable. Though trees start bearing fruits from the 4th or 5th year, they are not commercially viable as fruits are limited to less than 10 KG per plant. Harvesting costs are higher and the yield is much less limited. Apart from this said factor, there is no need for an irrigation setup if you have a drip line and fertigation is the bare minimum. The maintenance of the plant is limited to occasional trimming or pruning.