Custard Apple Farming in India – Method, Cost & Profit

Custard apple is mainly used for table purpose but the pulp is used in many desserts and confectioneries like ice cream, kheer, milkshake, etc. It also has medicinal values and every part of the tree like unripe fruit, seeds, leaves and roots have their uses. Custard apple farming is very profitable with the increasing demand and limited supply.

Custard Apple Overview

Scientific NameAnnona reticulata
Common NameSitaphal, Aata
SoilNo specific soil requirement, grows on a wide variety of soil but requires well drainage. Ideal pH range in 5.5-8.5.
ClimateA hot and dry climate is best suited but requires high humidity for flowering. 500-800 mm of rainfall is optimal but has the ability to withstand more.
HarvestHarvesting starts within 3-4 years and lasts about 12-15 years
Yield30-80 kg/plant
Crop TypeFruit

Potential Area

Maharashtra is the top producer of custard apples followed by other states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, etc. Almost the entire part of tropical India has the potential of growing custard apples.

A custard apple farm
A custard apple farm

Custard Apple Cultivation Method

Custard apples can be propagated through seeds, grafting and budding but seedling propagation is the most popular method in commercial bulk propagation. There are various wild sitaphal varieties in India but commercially successful varieties are NMK-01, Balanagar, Washington, Red Sitaphal, Mammoth, etc.

Pits of size (1.5ft X 1.5ft X 1.5ft) or (2ft X 2ft X 2ft) are dug during summer and are left open for 2 weeks before filled with topsoil mixed with FYM(1:1) and neem cake. The pits are further left for another 2 weeks before the seedlings are transplanted.


In few states like Gujarat custard apple is planted along the field border but most commercial plantation in India is done in block plantation. Various spacing is adopted depending on soil type and agro-climate.

12ft X 8ft453
10ft X 10ft435
14ft X 8ft388
13ft X 13ft255
16ft X 16ft170
20ft X 13ft167
20ft X 20ft108


It is a hardy crop which requires minimal care and water. Occasional pruning of old and dried branches can be carried out. It does not even need regular irrigation for average yield but 3-4 irrigation during flowering and fruiting increase the fruit quality and size.


Fruit rot, fruit spot, mealy bug, scale insect, purple blotch, sunburn, etc. are main problems in custard apple plantation. Proper water and soil management is required otherwise there are some foliar sprays to control damage.

Harvesting and Yield

Though it takes more than 5 years for full harvest, flowering starts in the 3rd year. High humidity level during flowering results in higher yield. A fully grown plant above 5 years bears about 100 fruits but fruit thinning is done and only about 50 large sized fruits are left per plant to get high quality fruits which have higher market value. The average weight of the fruits varies between 250-1000 gm depending on the variety. Actual yield per acre depends on variety, spacing, soil, water availability and other agro-climates.

Harvested custard apple
Harvested custard apple

Should You Grow Custard Apple?

Reasons to Grow Custard Apple

  • Hardy crop, does not require much care and water.
  • Growing demand in the pulp industry for ice cream and other processed foods.
  • Stable income after the initial years.

Reasons Not to Grow Custard Apple

  • Initially high waiting period for commercial harvesting.
  • Shortage in quality planting materials.
  • Being a perishable fruit and lack of cold storage the market rate for the ripe fruit fluctuates sometimes depending on the demand-supply.

A Sample Custard Apple Cultivation Project

This is a sample project of custard apple cultivation on 1 acre of land. NMK-1 Golden variety of custard apple plants will be planted with a spacing of 12ft X 8ft accommodating 453 plants/acre. Cost per plant and wholesale mandi price of custard apple is considered Rs. 60 and Rs. 40/kg respectively. Average fruit weight of this variety is 600-1000 gm but is considered only 500 gm in this project. Labour per manday is assumed Rs. 300.

Custard Apple Farming Profit

Item1st Year2nd Year3rd Year4th Year5th Year
Yield per plant (kg)0001525
Yield per acre (kg)0006,79511,325
Total Income0002,71,8004,53,000
Land preparation, pit digging and planting15,0000000
Fertilisers and manures15,0005,0005,0005,0005,000
Training and pruning0001,8001,800
Other manpower7,5007,5007,5007,5007,500
Total Expenditure75,18023,00023,00032,30032,300
Net Income-75,180-23,000-23,0002,39,5004,20,700

(Amount in Rs.)First commercial harvest can be taken at the 4th year and from the 5th year the yield stabilises. The cost of cultivation can be reduced by utilising the government subsidy.

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