Growing caimito – part 2

Cultivation is not very extensive, though the seedling requires constant ring weeding while young..

Farmers in Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna regularly  grow filed crops like rice, corn, pineapple, and root crops between young caimito trees to maximize use of land. Other farmers plant fruit trees like banana, coffe and lanz0ones between caimito trees to sterilize all available space.

Fertilizer application is not always necessary. A caimit tree can draw sufficient food from the soil to support growth and fruit production. However, it is a good practice to apply nitrogenous fertilizer when the plants are young. Usually, animal manure is good substitute for commercial fertilizer. To improve fruit production, apply complete fertilizer may also be applied at the start of the rainy season before flowering and when the soil contains enough moisture. The broadcast method of fertilizer application is economical and effective.

Caimito is a medium-sized and spreading tree. Its leaves are oval, with pointed tips, and are light to dark-green on the upper surface, and copper or golden  beneath,

The flowers are yellowish or purplish-white, small and inconspicuous. They appear at the axil of the leaves.

Caimito begins to bear fruit when it is five to six years old. A budded plants fruits much earlier.

Fruit is harvested when ripe. Ripe fruit sports shiny, thin skin that has pale-green to dark-purple color. Fruit is usually picked by hand. A bamboo pole with a small net attached at the tip may be used to reach fruit in higher branches.

The fruit is spherical to oblong in shape. The edible pulp is fairly soft, with a small amount of milky juice, either creamy or purplish in color and rich in later.

It is eaten when fully ripe. The taste is mild and pleasant.  Fruit contains 88.53 percent crude fiber; 2.34 percetn protein; 1.38 percent fat; 4.4 percent sugar and 3.35 percent waste.  The energy equivalent of each kilogram is 392 calories.

Each fruit containes eight to 10 translucent  white segements in which seeds are embedded. Seeds are ovate to elliptical in shape, flattened, hard, brown and glossy.

There are two widely grown caimit varieties in the Philippines. The green variety has several shapes and sizes and is further classified into: the round type, which is about seven centimeters in diameter and about as long as its width; the long type, which is about nine centimeters long and 6.5 seven centimeters wide and larger at the stigma than at the base end; and the top-shaped type, which has a larger portion towards the base, and is about 7.5 to eight centimeters long, with six-centimeter diameter.

The more popular purple variety is rounder than the green variety,

Insect pests that attack the tree are: the twig borer; the carpenter moth (attacks stems and twigs); the gray mealy bug; the pulvinaria scale (young leaves and twigs); the adult toy beetle (leaves) and fruitfly (leaves).

Regular spraying of insecticides can effectively control these important pests.

No serious disease attacks caimito except the Lasiodiopledia theobromae Griff & Manble which causes drying, sooting and rotting of fruit, Regular spraying of fungicides can effectively control this fungus.

Birds, bats and wild cats also eat ripe fruit.

BPI experts say about 7,270 hectares were planted to caimito in 1969. These produced 15.5 million kilos of fruit valued at 3.11 million. These figures have tripled since then. Generally, caimito bears fruit only once a year. The profitability of the tree is high. Consider this: From November to February , when caimito production is lean throughout the country, price per kilo is as high as 7,000 pesos. There are only four, at the most six, pieces in one kilo.

A productive caimito tree bears some 10-15 kaings of fruit at harvest time. An averagesized kaing contains at least 100 fruits. Compute this at the rate of 0.50 pesos a fruit and you get an idea of profitability


Source:Greenfields magazine, 1976


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.