Pomegranate is one fruit that has gained a lot of prominence in the last few years for its nutritional benefits. The fruit is primarily grown in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Tamil Nadu has been adding significant acreages in the recent past. There are various varieties that are grown commercially, Bhagwa has been gaining popularity of late.
- The fruit is moderate in calories; 100 g provides 83 calories. It contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.
- It is a good source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, which aid in smooth digestion and bowel movements.
- The fruit is suggested by nutritionists in the diet for weight reduction and cholesterol controlling programs. Regular inclusion of fruits in the diets boosts immunity, improves circulation, and offers protection from cancers.
- The fruit is an also good source of antioxidant vitamin-C, provides about 17% per 100 g of daily requirement. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity.
- Regular consumption of pomegranate has also been found to be effective against prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), diabetes, and lymphoma.
- Further, it is an also good source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), folates, pyridoxine and vitamin K, and minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, and manganese.
Pomegranate grows well under semi-arid conditions and can be grown upto an altitude of 500 m. above m.s.l.. It thrives well under hot, dry summer and cold winter provided irrigation facilities are available. The tree requires hot and dry climate during fruit development and ripening. Pomegranate tree is deciduous in areas of low winter temperature and an evergreen or partially deciduous in tropical and sub-tropical conditions. It can tolerate frost to a considerable extent in dormant stage, but is injured at temperature below - 110 C. Well drained, sandy loan to deep loamy or alluvial soils is suitable for cultivation.
Back in September, I visited one farm near Pune that was known for its pomegranate production. The farm was a couple of acres big with about 400 trees. Trees were around 12-13 years old and yielded profusely. According to the farmer, on an average he attained 70-80 Kgs per tree. Frequent sprays of All 19 were required to keep the fruits healthy. The fruit is fairly labor intensive with regards to pruning, stkaing and general maintaince. However, the rewards are healthy too with farm gate sales of Rs 70-80 per Kg.
Promegrante is susceptible to various diseases.
Alternaria fruit spot:
- Small reddish brown circular spots appear on the fruits.
- As the disease advances these spots, coalesce to form larger patches and the fruits start rotting.
Spraying Mancozeb (0.25%) or Captaf (0.25%) effectively controls the disease.
- Appears as small regular or irregular dull violet or black leaf spots with yellowish halos.
- Leaves turn yellow and fall out. Symptoms appear on flowers also.
- Both tender and mature fruits develop spots which are initially circular later becoming irregular, brown to dark brown covering the fruit partly or wholly with sunken centres.
- Diseased portions appear with minute, black dots representing acervuli.
The disease is severe during August-September when there is high humidity and the temperature between 20-27ºC. Carbendazim/ Difenconazole or Thiophanate methyl at 0.25ml/lit sprays at fort-nightly intervals have been found effective.
- Appearance of one to several small water soaked, dark coloured irregular spots on leaves resulting in premature defoliation under severe cases.
- The pathogen also infects stem and branches causing girdling and cracking symptoms.
- Spots on fruits were dark brown irregular slightly raised with oily appearance, which split open with L-shaped cracks under severe cases.
The disease can be managed by 1% Bordeaux mixture before pruing. After Ethrel spraying or defoliation, Paste or smear with 0.5g Streptomycin Sulphate + 2.5g Copper oxy chloride + 200g red oxide per lit of water. Spray 0.5 g Streptomycin Sulphate or Bacterinashak +2.5 g Copper oxy chloride per litre of water.