Watermelon (Tarbooj) Farming in india

Most fruit crops are orchards. Trees that last at least a few decades. Mangoes, Peaches, Apples, Oranges, plums… All trees. But there are some exceptions. Berries are shrubs and then melons.. They are vines. Melons are annuals. They last only a season and need to be cultivated again the next year. Everything starts afresh. The good thing about watermelon is that its not very demanding when it comes to the soil but the bad part is that it requires a good amount of fertilizer and is sensitive about waterlogging. Watermelon works excellent in riverbeds and requires no care in such areas but when it comes to cultivation in a large scale things are a bit tricky but not difficult. 

There are a few key facts and tips to keep in mind when cultivating watermelon. First of all, watermelon requires full sun and works best in areas where the weather is quite hot. This includes Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra, Orissa, West Bengal and Karnataka. The other important point is that it does not tolerate frost at all. When it comes to water requirements, watermelon requires a moist soil during its period of growth. The Root goes up to 6 inches deep and six inches in radius. So keep the soil moist near the root area. Moist only and not wet. This is key as watermelon is also sensitive to water logging. 

When it comes to the market, its also important to understand that watermelon is always in demand during summer. Monsoon is not the best time for selling watermelon and winter, though may have a mediocre market, there is no assurance of demand. Cultivating watermelon for summers is currently the trend. Though watermelo can be cultivated year round, farmers ensure that the fruits are available during the summer. Also , watermelon once cultivated in a piece of land, its important to rotate crops in the same area. Repeating watermelon in the same area results in poor yield and stress to the plants.

Profit and Economics of Watermelon Cultivation

Watermelon is a profitable cash crop. The plants last up to 120 days and the returns are quite fast compared to orchard fruits. The market for the fruits are moderate and depending on the season, the sales of the fruit and the price could vary. Off season fruits are usually more expensive but the demand is not known. If in a good area, like metros and with good population, chances are the sales will be good and the price too can be reasonably high. Remote areas will find it hard to sell watermelon during off season. 

The average price for watermelon is 2000 Rs per quintal. Each plant has a potential of 11 Kilo fruits with 2 fruits per plant (varies depending on variety). 3500-4500 plants can be accommodate per acre. With a basic calculation, the total yield per acre of watermelon cultivation could be around 37.4 tonnes to 49 tonnes. At an average price of 20 Rs per kilo, the total turnover could be around 7.4 Lakh to 9.8 Lakh. Thats an appalling figure and looks exorbitant. When something is too good to be true, its almost always is. In reality the total yield per acre is only 70 to 80 Quintals thats, 7-8 tonnes. Per acre. With that in calculation, the real figure could range between 1.4 Lakh to 1.6 Lakh per acre. This is the turnover and then there are expenses. With the expenses calculated with approximately 50, 000 Rs including of drip setup and mulching sheets, a profit of approximately 80-90 thousand can be expected from one crop of watermelon cultivation.

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