How farmers in Punjab use kinnow crop waste as bio-enzymes that repel pests and improve soil quality

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The Punjab alone produces around 10-11 tons of lakh of kinnow fruit each year.

The kinnow fruit season has started in Punjab as farmers prepare to harvest the citrus fruits which are in huge demand in neighboring states, including the nation’s capital. Along with harvesting the fruits of the kinnow, the farmers must also dispose of the falling fruits, which are considered total waste and a by-product of the harvest. Considered until now as simple waste, fallen fruits could play an extremely vital role in restoring the quality of air, soil and water and in controlling the depletion of groundwater tables. Fallen fruit can be collected from kinnow fields by farmers and used to make bio-enzymes (BE), according to a report from Indian Express.

What constitutes the fallen fruit?
The fallen fruit of the kinnow harvest is nothing but the skin and the extremely small and tiny kinnow fruit that accompanies the full sized kinnow fruit. Fallen fruit, also known as ‘D’ grade kinnow fruit, is considered waste by kinnow farmers and disposed of from kinnow fields. However, about 100 farmers in the state’s Kinnow Belt decided to use the fallen fruit in the manufacture of bio-enzymes.

How are bioenzymes produced?
BEs are nothing more than organic solutions that are made by the fermentation of organic waste, including fruits, vegetables and plants. Organic waste is mixed with sugar, jaggery and water and left for a period of 60 to 100 days to turn into bio-enzymes. The production of bioenzymes from the fallen fruits of the kinnow cultivation in Punjab is important as the state has around 40,000 hectares of cultivated agricultural land in areas such as Hoshiarpur, Abohar, Fazilka, Mukatsar and Bathinda. The state alone produces around 10-11 lakh tonnes of kinnow fruit each year.

A few experts from the Horticulture Department told the Indian Express that about 15 to 20 percent of the kinnow harvest falls prematurely from Kinnow trees before and during harvest time. In addition to depleting the overall harvest of the crop, fallen fruit also poses problems for farmers as they are forced to hide wasted fallen fruit in a dug pit so as not to attract pests or flies that attack even healthy fruit. of the tree.

Usefulness of fallen fruits
Farmer Paramjit Singh Jhajria from Maujgarh village, Fazilka district, told the Indian Express he had prepared about 20,000 liters of bioenzyme from fallen fruit from Kinnow’s last harvest season . Jhajria noted that the pH level of the groundwater as well as the canal water is as high as 8.5-9 percent in the region against normal 7. However, after mixing BE with the water irrigation, the soil health has improved considerably in his field. . The farmer added that the bioenzyme works wonders on cotton, kinnow and vegetable plants and naturally repels the pest.

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