1.                  INTRODUCTION


Ber or Indian jujube (Ziziphus mauritiana) is one of the hardy minor fruit crops suitable for cultivation in arid conditions.  It is native to India.  


2.                  OBJECTIVE
The main objective of this report is to present a one acre bankable model for high quality commercial cultivation of the crop. 
3.                  BACKGROUND

3.1              Area & Production


The major ber-growing states are Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.


3.2              Economic Importance

Fruits are rich in Vitamin C, A and B complex. About 5.6% digestible crude protein and 49.7% total digestible nutrients are present in the leaves making it a nutritive fodder for animals. Ber can be processed to prepare murabba, candy, dehydrated ber, pulp, jam and beverage.


4.                  PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY


4.1              Agro-climatic requirements


Ber grows under varying climatic conditions at elevations upto 1,000 m. above m.s.l. It can withstand extremely hot conditions but is susceptible to frost. High atmospheric humidity is not suitable for its cultivation.


Ber grows on a wide variety of soils-sandy, clayey, saline and alkaline soils.



4.2              Growing and Potential Belts


The state-wise growing belts are given in the following :



Growing belts


Hisar, Rohtak, Jind, Panipat, Mahindergarh, Gurgaon,


Bharatpur, Jaipur, Jodhpur


Sangrur, Patiala


Banaskantha, Sabarmati


Bijapur, Bellary, Gulbarga, Belagaum, Raichur, Bidar

Tamil Nadu

Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram, Dharmapuri, Salem


4.3              Varieties Cultivated


Important ber varieties cultivated in India are Gola, Umran, Banarasi Karka, Mundia, Kaithli, Umran, Mehrun, Parbani, Elaichi and Sanam 5.


4.4              Land Preparation


Land is prepared by ploughing, harrowing, leveling and removing weeds.


4.5              Planting


4.5.1        Planting Material


Ber is vegetatively propagated by ‘I’ or ‘T’ (shield) budding method.


Seeds are sown in well-prepared nursery bed at 30x30cm. spacing and at 2cm. depth during March-April. These seedlings are either transplanted in the field during July-August for in-situ budding or can be budded in the nursery beds. In irrigated conditions, transplanting can be done in bare rooted stage during January-March after treatment with 12% Waxol or after defoliation.


In rainfed areas, seeds are sown in 300 gauge polythene tubes of 25 cm. length and 10 cm. diameter, filled with a 1: 1: 1 mixture of farmyard manure, sand and clay. In northern India, sowing is done during April in north India so that the seedlings become buddable during July. The budlings become ready for transplanting 1-2 months after budding. The budlings raised by this technique retain their deep rooting tendency and prove to be suitable under low rainfall drylands. In drylands, ber orchard can also be raised by transplanting tube-raised ber seedlings with the onset of monsoon, leaving them to grow in the field until the forthcoming summer for budding in-situ.


4.5.2        Planting season


Planting is usually done at the beginning of monsoon.


4.5.3        Spacing


Planting is done at a spacing of 6 m. in low rainfall areas and the irrigated condition or in areas receiving high rainfall. In irrigated areas, ber plants can also be transplanted during January-March.


4.5.4        Planting Method


Pits of 60x60x60 cm. are dug during summer and refilled after mixing two baskets of farmyard manure and 50 g. of heptachlor dust to protect from termite attack.


4.6              Nutrition


A fertilizer dose of 750 g. N/tree gives highest yield whereas 250 g. N and 250 g. P2O5 increase fruit yield. Application of K does not give any response.


4.7               Irrigation


Irrigation is provided at an interval of 3-4 weeks. Irrigation provided during October results in shedding of flowers and that during March-April causes fruit spoilage and delays ripening.


4.8              Training & Pruning


Trees are trained to develop a strong framework during the first 2-3 years after planting.


Annual pruning is essential to induce maximum no. of new healthy shoots which would bear good quality fruits. The undesirable, weak, intecrossing, diseased and broken branches are removed from time to time in order to encourage healthy growth for maximum fruit bearing. Pruning is done during the dry season when the tree sheds leaves and enters into dormancy. Spraying with 3% thiourea or potassium nitrate once in two days before pruning induces bud sprouting from maximum no. of nodes.



4.9              Intercultural Operations


Inter-cultural operations are carried out on regular basis to remove the weeds.


4.10          Mulching


Black polythene mulch has been found to be useful in conserving soil moisture and the growth of trees. 


4.11          Inter-cropping


Under rainfed conditions, leguminous crops viz. mungbean, moth bean and cow pea can be grown. Gram, chilli and other vegetables can also be grown as inter-crops till the trees occupy full space.


4.12          Plant Protection Measures
4.12.1    Insect Pests
Insect pests mostly observed are fruit fly, fruit borer, leaf-eating caterpillars, mealy bug, scale insect and thrips.  Selection of healthy planting material and suitable inter-cultural operations apart from application of pesticides are effective in controlling the pests. 
4.12.2    Diseases
Main diseases reported are powdery mildew, leaf spot, rust and black spot.  Application of Kavach Rovral/Mancozole (2 g./l.)/wettable sulphur etc. depending on type of infection has been found to be effective in most cases.


4.13          Harvesting  and Yield


Ber matures 150-175 days after flowering. A pre-harvest spray of 750 ppm. 2-chloro-ethyl phosphoric acid (ethephon) induces early maturity. Fully mature fruits are harvested by picking which is usually done in the forenoon.


The time of harvesting is October-November in southern India, December-March in Gujarat, January-March in Rajasthan and during February-April in north India.


Under rainfed conditions, bearing starts from second year.  Budded plants come to bearing after 3-4 years.


The average yield during the prime bearing period (10-20 years) ranges from 80 to 200 kg./tree. In dry areas, under rainfed conditions, 50-80 kg. fruits/tree can be obtained.  Trees remain productive for 25-30 years.


5.                  POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT


5.1              Grading


Fruits are graded on the basis of their size into large, medium and small-sized ones. The damaged, over-ripe, unripe fruits are usually discarded.


5.2              Storage


Pre-cooling of fruits at 100 C immediately after harvest increases the shelf life by about 3 days when subsequently stored at room temperature. The storage life of the fruits can be prolonged to 30-40 days when stored at 30 C and 85-90% relative humidity.


5.3              Packing


Fruits are generally packed in cloth sheets or gunny bags for local markets. Packing is done according to the grades for long distance markets.  Good quality fruits are packed in perforated cardboard cartons of 6 kg. capacity with paper cuttings as cushioning material. The fruits of lower grades are packed in baskets or gunny bags.


5.4              Transportation


Road transport by trucks/lorries is the most convenient mode of transport due to easy approach from orchards to the market.


5.5              Marketing


Majority of the growers sell their produce either through trade agents at village level or commission agents at the market.






6.                  TECHNOLOGY SOURCES


Major sources for technology are:


(i)                  University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad-580005, Karnataka.

(ii)                Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hissar-125004, Haryana.

(iii)               Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hessarghatta, Banglore-560089, Karnataka.

(iv)              Directorate of Horticulture, Lalbagh, Bangalore, Karnataka.































7.                  ECONOMICS OF A ONE ACRE MODEL


7.1              High quality commercial cultivation of crop by using high quality planting material and drip irrigation leads to multiple benefits viz.


·                     Synchronized  growth, flowering and harvesting;

·                     Reduction in variation of off-type and non-fruit plants;

·                     Improved fruit quality;


Costs & Returns


7.2              A one acre plantation of the crop is a viable proposition.  The major cost  components of such a model are given in the table below  The project cost works out to Rs. 1.00 lakhs. (vide Annexures I & II).


Cost Components of a One Acre Model Ber Plantation


                                                                                                                  (Amount in Rs.)

Sl. No.


Proposed Expenditure


Cultivation Expenses




Cost of planting material (6x6m)




Manures & fertilizers    




Insecticides & pesticides  




Cost of Labour




Others, if any, (Power)




Sub Total







Tube-well/submersible pump




Cost of Pipeline




Others, if any




Sub Total



Cost of Drip/Sprinkler







Store & Pump House




Agriculture Implements




Others, if any, please specify




Sub Total



Land Development




Soil leveling












Others, if any, please specify




Sub Total



Grand Total


N.B.: Cost of land, if newly purchased, can be included in the project.  This will be limited

to 10% of the total project cost.


7.3              The major components of the model are:


·                     Land Development:  (Rs. 4.0 thousand):  This is the labour cost of shaping and dressing the land site.

·                     Fencing (Rs. 20.0 thousand):  It is necessary to guard the orchard by barbed wire fencing to safeguard the valuable produce from animals and prevent poaching.  This is post cost of fencing in one acre.

·                     Irrigation Infra-structure (Rs. 35.0 thousand cost per acre of tube well which would serve 2 ha):  For effective working with drip irrigation system, it is necessary to install a bore well with diesel/electric pumpset and motor.  This is post cost of tube-well.

·                     Drip Irrigation & Fertigation System (Rs. 15.0 thousand):  This is average cost of one acre drip system. The actual cost will vary depending on location, plant population and plot geometry.

·                     Implements (Rs. 1.0 thousand):  Improved manually operated essential implements.

·                     Building and Storage (Rs. 11.0 thousand):  A one acre orchard would require minimally a grading/packing room –cum-pump house.

·                     Cost of Cultivation (Rs. 15.0 thousand):  Land preparation and planting operations will involve 57 days of manual labour, the cost of which will come to Rs. 4000.  The cost of planting material works out to Rs. 2400 i.e. 120 plants @ Rs. 20 per plant.


7.4              Labour cost has been put at an average of Rs. 70 per man-day.  The actual cost will vary from location to location depending upon minimum wage levels or prevailing wage levels for skilled and unskilled labour.





Since the orchard would be start giving yield from 3rd year onwards, it is proposed to take up inter-cropping in the initial years particularly off season vegetables which would cost Rs. 10000/- per acre and would yield on average 6 tonnes/acre.  Valued at Rs.30,000 per annum.


7.5              Recurring Production Cost: Recurring production costs are exhibited in Annexure III.  The main components are planting material, land preparation, inputs application (FYM, fertilizers, micro-nutrients liming material, plant protection chemicals etc.), power and labour on application of inputs, inter-cultural and other farm operations.


7.6              Returns from the Project: The yield from the plantation is obtained from third year onwards.  The yield per tree increases from 3 tonnes per acre in the 3rd year to 7 tonnes per year.  Valued at Rs. 8 per kg., the return accordingly goes up from Rs. 24 thousand to Rs. 56 thousand (Vide Annexure-III).


Project Financing


7.7              Balance Sheet:  The projected balance sheet of the model is given at Annexure IV.  There would be three sources of financing the project as below:


                                    Source                                                       Rupees


                                    Farmer’s share   (50%)                                  50.00  

                                    Capital subsidy   (20%)                                   20.00

                                    Term loan            (30%)                                  30.00

                                    Total                                                              100.00


7.8              Profit & Loss Account:  The cash flow statement may be seen in Annexure V.   Annexure VI projects the profit and loss account of the model.  Gross profit goes up from Rs. 10 thousand in post operative year 1 to Rs. 37.7 thousand in  post operative year 5. 


7.9              Repayment of Term Loan: The term loan will be repaid in eleven equated 6 monthly installments of Rs.2.73 thousand with a moratorium of 12 months.  The rate of interest would have to be negotiated with the financing bank. It has been put at 12% in the model (vide Annexures VII & VII A). 


7.10          Annexure VIII gives depreciation calculations.


Project Viability:


7.11          IRR/BCR:  The viability of the project is assessed in Annexure IX.  The IRR works out to 29.42 and the BCR to 2.2 over a post-operative period of 15 years.


7.12          The Debt Service coverage ratio calculations are presented in Annexure X.  The average DSCR works out to 4.60.


7.13          Payback Period:  On the basis of costs and returns of the model, the pay back period is estimated at 5.67 years (vide Annexure XI). 


7.14          Break-even Point:  The break even point will be reached in the 3rd year.  At this point fixed cost would work out to 57.5% of gross sales (vide Annexure XII).