About 15-20 percent of the kinnow harvest falls from the Kinnow trees prematurely before and during the harvest period.
The kinnow fruit season has started in Punjab with farmers readying themselves to reap the harvest of the citrous fruit that registers huge demand in the neighbouring states including the national capital. Along with the harvest of the kinnow fruit, farmers also have to dispose of the falling fruit which is considered a total waste and a byproduct of the harvest. Considered nothing more than a dispensable waste till now, the fallen fruit could play an extremely vital role in restoring the quality of air, soil, water and check depleting ground water levels. According to an Indian Express report, the fallen fruit can be collected from the kinnow fields by the farmers and utilised in making bio-enzymes (BEs) out of it.
What constitutes fallen fruit?
Fallen fruit of the kinnow crop is nothing but the peel and extremely tiny and small kinnow fruit that accompanies the regular-sized kinnow fruit. The fallen fruit which is also known as the ‘D’ grade kinnow fruit is considered as a waste product by the kinnow farmers and disposed of from the kinnow fields. However, about 100 farmers from the Kinnow belt of the state have decided to utilise the fallen fruit in making Bio-enzymes.
How are bio-enzymes produced?
BEs are nothing but organic solutions that are made through the fermentation of the organic waste including fruits, vegetables, plants. The organic waste is mixed with sugar, jaggery, and water and left for a period of 60-100 days to convert into bio-enzymes. The production of bio-enzymes out of the fallen fruit of the kinnow crop in Punjab is significant as the state has about 40000 hectares of agricultural land under Kinnow crop in regions like Hoshiarpur, Abohar, Fazilka, Mukatsar, Bathinda. The state alone produces about 10-11 lakh tonnes of the kinnow fruit every year.
A few Horticulture department experts told the Indian Express that about 15-20 percent of the kinnow harvest falls from the Kinnow trees prematurely before and during the harvest period. Apart from depleting the overall harvest of the crop, the fallen fruit also poses trouble for the farmers as they are forced to hide the wasted fallen fruit in a dug pit to not attract the pest or flies that attack even the healthy fruit on the tree.
Utility of fallen fruit
Farmer Paramjit Singh Jhajria of Maujgarh village, Fazilka district told the Indian Express that he has prepared about 20000 litres of Bio-enzyme from the fallen fruit of the last and ongoing Kinnow crop season. Jhajria noted that the pH level of the ground water as well as canal water is as high as 8.5-9 percent in the region against the normal 7. However, after he mixed BE with the irrigation water the soil health has improved considerably on his field. The farmer added that the bio-enzyme does wonders on cotton, kinnow and vegetable plants and repels the pest naturally.