Guava – Varieties in India, Production, Seasons, and Economic Importance.
Guava (Psidium guajava) is a tropical fruit that is oval and originated from Central America and Mexico. It is the fourth most significant fruit after mango, banana, and citrus fruits. Later, guava is harvested across Asia and predominantly on the Indian subcontinent. There are around 30 varieties of Guava in India, However white guava and pink guava are the most commonly cultivated varieties. The guava is a tiny 5 petal, white flower with numerous stamens before becoming a fruit. The appearance of guava is greenish-yellow on the outside with white or pink flesh inside and the flesh is loaded with seeds.
Varieties of Guava in India
There are many varieties of Guava in India. However, White Guava and Pink guava are the most preferred varieties by fruit pulp manufacturers. The Indian guava varieties are named as per the skin and pulp color. Some varieties of guava in India are named according to the place of origin and its shape. Allahabad Safeda and Sardar varieties dominate the Indian market because of their yielding capacity, great quality, and their acceptance all over the world. Of all the numerous guava varieties, Allahabad safeda is the best guava variety in India. It is used for both processing and table purposes.The popular Indian guava varieties are Allahabad Safeda, Sardar (Lucknow 49), Pant Prabhat, Lalit, Dhareedar, Chittidar, Arka Mridula, and Khaja (Bengal Safeda).
The Lucknow variety of guava is cultivated in Nuzvid, Vijayawada, and Andhra Pradesh and used for pulping. Safeda variety is produced in the region of Odugathur, Bangalore, and Tadipatri and used as a pulping and table variety. The Allahabad variety is produced in Madurai, Theni, and Dindigul and used as a table variety. Indian guava varieties are used as a table variety and also for manufacturing fruit pulps. White guava and pink guava varieties are the most popular in manufacturing pulp, puree, and concentrate
Pink guava is one of the popular varieties of guava in India. The desi Karnataka variety of pink guava is used in the pulping industry. Taiwan, Arka Kiran varieties are grown in the region of Tadipatri and Vijayawada and are used as table varieties. Pink guava varieties are mostly used in food processing industries, because of their natural sweetness and higher pulp content. Indian guava varieties with more Brix value are preferred by pulp and beverage producers to have a better taste and sweetness in drinks.
Guava production – In India and the rest of the world
India is the top producer of guava that harvests 25M metric tons contributing to 45% of the world’s guava production. The second and third largest producers are Indonesia and China that contribute 7% and 5% of the production. As per the reports till 2019, India tops the guava production with 5% annual growth and Thailand becomes the top exporter with 15% annual growth and China becomes the biggest importer with a 15% increase annually.
Although guava can be grown throughout India due to favorable climatic conditions, Uttar Pradesh is the major contributor in the production followed by Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamilnadu. Where farming has been gaining popularity in recent times, harvesting in India has increased by 64%, and the guava production in India to 55% over the past four decades. Guava is grown in tropical and subtropical regions and tolerates high temperatures which makes India a favorable place to harvest guavas. In Tamilnadu, guavas are predominantly cultivated in Madurai, Salem, and Dindigul. The below chart shows the states that have the highest production of guava in India.
Growing Seasons of Guava in India
The Guava plants start bearing fruits at the age of 2-3 years but it attains a full bearing capacity at 8-10 years. A plant’s yield depends on its cropping pattern, age, and cultural practices. A 10-year-old plant yields between 10 and 100 kgs of guava fruits per year. Guavas are cultivated throughout the year in Andhra Pradesh and the peak guava growing season in north India is from August to December. August to September is for a rainy season crop, November to December is for a Winter crop, and March to April is for a spring crop. However, in Tamilnadu, the peak guava season is from April – May, and October – November. If the rainy and winter season crops are compared, the yield may be more in the winter season. The season of guava fruit in India varies from state to state. For instance, the guava season in Andhra Pradesh is throughout the year, whereas in Arunachal Pradesh, the guava growing season is only from July to October. The below tabular column shows the seasons of guava fruit in India across the different states in India.
Guava fruit is nutritious and has huge health benefits compared to other fruits. Knowing its nutritional values, guava is gaining popularity in the various food processing industries. Since Guavas are rich sources of Vitamins C, Calcium, and Pectins, the fruit is used in the manufacturing of processed foods like jellies, jams and fruit cheese, and nectars. Since pink guava puree has a pleasant taste, aroma, and attractive color the puree is used in cakes, sauces, desserts, toppings, and puddings.
Since the fruit pulp industry is expected to grow in the coming years, the demand for fresh juices and drinks has increased in the past few years. Guava Pulp is primarily used in the manufacturing of beverages like smoothies, fruit drinks, cocktails, and other guava-based drinks. Guava pulp is also a key ingredient in the dairy industry and used in the manufacturing of Ice creams, guava flavored yogurts, and milkshakes.
Health benefits of Guava
As per the recent survey, the National Institute of Nutrition funded by ICMR conducted a study on 14 fresh fruits and their antioxidant activities. As a result of this study, surprisingly it is found that guavas have the highest concentration of antioxidant levels followed by mango, pomegranate, and custard apple. Antioxidants are molecules that control the levels of disease-causing free radicals in your body. Antioxidants protect against cell damage that prevents your skin from aging and reduces the risk of cancer.
This study is a surprise because we tend to believe that expensive fruits have a rich source of nutrition. Guavas are relatively cheaper compared to the other fruits and have the richest source of nutrition.
- Vitamin C along with Vitamin A and E are powerful antioxidants. One guava fruit contains 125 mg of vitamin C which is more than you need to strengthen your immune system.
- Guava has 5 times more vitamins compared to an orange. Guava contains 212mg per 100gm of guava, whereas orange contains only 40mg per 100gms.
- Some studies suggest that consuming guava juice or pulp has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health. Guava pulp also helps platelets clump together which is important for blood health.
- Consuming guava in the form of pulp or juice can help in weight loss because it is low in calories, low in fat, and rich in fiber.
- Guava is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that help to keep your skin looking healthy and beautiful.